In October 2018, the Canadian government announced that marijuana was legalized. It has been over a year, and despite the new legislation, many people still do not understand the laws of using cannabis and how it can affect them. Many people do not know where the line stands from it being legal and illegal, resulting in them getting into unwanted trouble.  


This blog post aims to answer the key questions that you need to know about cannabis, criminal defence lawyers and the law. 


Where Can I Purchase Marijuana? 

To obtain marijuana legally, you have two options: purchasing directly from AGLC (the province’s online cannabis retailer) or private licenced retail stores. Consumers have to be 18 years and older to buy marijuana. 


However,  if you are caught purchasing cannabis from a black market dealer, you risk getting into trouble with the law as it is considered “outside the boundaries”, and illegal. You will be charged with the crime and will need a criminal defence lawyer to represent you. 


How Much Marijuana Can I Own? 

As a buyer, you are only allowed to purchase a limit of 30 grams of cannabis per transaction. It is also the legal public possession limit. If you are suspected of exceeding that limit, you could be in trouble with authorities. You can own marijuana in other forms, as long as it equals the 30-gram equivalent including: 

  • One cannabis plant seed
  • 0.25 grams of solid or liquid concentrates
  • 70 grams of liquid product
  • 15 grams of edible marijuana 
  • 5 grams of ‘fresh’ cannabis 


Where Can I Consume Cannabis? 

In Alberta, you are allowed to consume cannabis in your home and in some public spaces where smoking is permitted. But laws do vary depending on where you live. Laws are different in Edmonton compared to Calgary, so you must abide by them. 


You will not be allowed to smoke or consume marijuana near children, including school grounds, hospitals, public parks and other places where children might be frequent. If you are caught smoking marijuana in licensed areas, you will be subjected to provincial punishments, including fines, administrative penalties and court appearances. 

But perhaps the most contentious line is consuming cannabis and being near a vehicle. 


What About Marijuana And Driving? 

In its most basic form, the use of marijuana can be compared to alcohol. There are limitations on where you can use it and how much. And this is best summed up in terms of driving and using cannabis.

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Unless you consume cannabis in a parked temporary resident, such as an RV, it is illegal to consume it or for it to be close to anyone in the vehicle. Driving while high is a severe crime and puts everyone at risk. You will be unable to drive properly as you will be mentally and physically impaired. 


If you caught high while driving, you would be charged with “impaired driving” – the same as if you were charged if you were drunk driving. You could face fines, criminal charges or jail time if you are determined to be high on the road. If you are caught, it is advisable to contact a DUI lawyer in Calgary or Edmonton to help you with your case. 


What About Selling Cannabis? 

You cannot sell marijuana privately. You can only sell marijuana to a medical clinic or patients, and to do so, you have to obtain an ACMPR. It is a licence issued by Health Canada that permits you to grow marijuana for yourself, and/or sell it. You will have to go through background checks, assessments and more to be approved. 

Under federal legislation, adults can grow up to 4 plants per household, as long as the seeds are purchased from licensed cannabis retailers.


What Happens If Youth Are Caught With Marijuana? 

It is illegal to sell or hand over marijuana to anyone under the age of 18. If you are caught doing so, the penalties are so severe, you’re going to need a criminal defence lawyer to help you. You could face:

  • A fine of up $5 million 
  • Three years in jail, but can be extended to a maximum of 14 years. 

If a youth under 18 is caught with possession of 5 grams or less, they will not be criminally charged but will be penalized in the same vein as those found with alcohol or tobacco. However, being caught with more than 5 grams of marijuana can see them be charged with criminal offences. 


We hope this blog post will prove useful to you when it comes to understanding your rights to marijuana. If you need more information, or if you are facing criminal charges, and are unsure of what you did, speak to your criminal lawyer in Edmonton or Calgary


Dunlap Law provides the legal support and representation you need for your criminal case. Dunlap law is experienced with impaired driving or criminal offence cases. Send an email to [email protected] or give us a call. Calgary: (403) 474-8222 | Edmonton: (780) 428-2267 | Toll Free: 1-866-247-2264