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7 Interesting Things to Know About Canada's Legalization of Marijuana

Weed goes legal in Canada today. Read this before you spark a northern light.


October 17 is a day that will live in weed infamy. Canada becomes only the second country in the world to legalize the plant. In many ways what's happening up North is a dress rehearsal for what could happen in the U.S. when the federal government finally legalizes cannabis -- just on a much smaller scale. The whole world is watching you Canada. Make us proud. 

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1. There are only a few national regulations.

When the Canadian federal government legalized marijuana, it left the decision of how weed will be sold and where people can smoke it up to the Canadian provinces. Some regulations are pretty much standard from B.C. to New Foundland.

  • You can't buy cannabis if you're under 18 (except in Quebec where the legal age is 21).
  • You can grow up to four plants at home (except in Quebec and Manitoba)
  • You can carry up to 30 grams outside your home. 

2. Toronto is not open for business.

The largest city in Canada (and the entire province of Ontario) won't be selling pot -- at least not out of stores. Some political wrangling between those who want the government to be in charge of cannabis sales and those who want it to be privately run has caused a delay, and it won't be resolved until April. In the meantime, Ontarians can buy cannabis online.

3. Vancouver is truly the Wild West. 

The province of Britsh Columbia was already known for its lax rules on cannabis, but now that it's legal the province is having some problems putting together a retail plan. Because the province has been surprisingly slow at handing out licenses to legal shop owners, the result is a confusing mix of both privately-owned illegal stores and government-run locations.

4. Edibles are not officially legal. 

The federal government legalized fresh and dry cannabis and some oils, but not concentrates, extracts, or edibles. While there is talk of setting up regulations on edibles next year, right now gummies and chocolates and all those good things are sold illegally in the grey market. However, under the current law, you can make edibles at home, 

5. Companies have to decide on their own drug policies. 

A big question among Canadians is, "Can I get high at the next Christmas party?" The answer is complicated. With no guidance from the feds, it's up to individual Canadian companies to create legal drug policies for their employees. WestJet recently announced that it is banning marijuana use for certain “safety-sensitive positions” even when they aren’t at work. We hope this means pilots. 

6. There are some weird theories about why the date October 17 was chosen.

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that October 17 would be D-day for legal marijuana, many Canadians asked why. With no official answers coming from the government, citizens took to Twitter to find an answer. Many think it celebrates the birthday of Ziggy Marley, son of Bob Marley, who is basically the patron saint of pot. Others think it has to do with Trudeau's dad's birthday, who would have been 99 the day before October 17th. This theory makes absolutely no sense. The most creative theory is a math equation: If you divide the month (10) by the day (17), the answer is 0.58823529. If you then add up each of those numbers (5+8+8+2+3+5+2+9) the answer is 42.0 -- or 420 for those keeping score at home!

7. You can't take it with you.

Americans are expected to bum rush the border on October 17 to partake in the party. But what you smoke in Canada stays in Canada. Don't think you can take it back home -- even if you live in a legal state, such as Washington. You could be arrested at the border crossings for drug possession -- or even drug smuggling -- and face steep fines or jail time.