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Cannabis laws you need to know

By Chief Warren Gherasim, Corman Park Police Service

On October 17, 2018, the Federal Government enacted legislation which legalized the possession and consumption of Cannabis in Canada. That law then enabled each province to legislate restrictions around how it will be possessed and consumed in each jurisdiction. Saskatchewan enacted the Cannabis Control Act, which effectively makes the use and possession of Cannabis similar to how we use and possess alcohol.

A good rule of thumb for those of you not prepared to read the Alcohol and Gaming Regulations Act or the Cannabis Control Act is treat Cannabis much the same way you would alcohol, with some differences.

Firstly, no one under the age of 19 may possess Cannabis in Saskatchewan, which is the same as alcohol. Anyone over the age of 19 may legally possess up to 30 grams of Cannabis.

Cannabis can only be purchased from a business which has been licensed to sell Cannabis, and they can only sell up to 30 grams at a time. It is an offence for anyone other than a licensed business to sell Cannabis. People may distribute, or give without compensation, Cannabis to another person over the age of 19 years, but that quantity is limited to 30 grams. And like alcohol, it is an offence to give Cannabis to a person who is already intoxicated.

The possession laws in Saskatchewan do allow for the growing of Cannabis at home; however, you may only possess up to four (4) non-budding plants. There is no limit to the number of budding plants you may have at your private residence, which is to say, actively-growing plants, but obviously once you harvest them, they become non-budding, and then the limit is four (4).

As for Cannabis in a vehicle, like the possession limits, you may only have up to 30 grams. Cannabis can only be transported from a place of lawful purchase (a licensed business) or place of lawful consumption (a private residence) to a place of lawful consumption (a private residence). This is the same as the regulations on alcohol. So basically, you can buy it from the licensed seller and transport it directly home, or you can transport it directly from one private residence to another and that’s it, and only in an amount of 30 grams or less.

As with alcohol, Cannabis may not be consumed in a public place, and it is also an offence to consume Cannabis at or near school grounds or at a child care facility such as a daycare business.

Some examples of the penalties are as follows:

* A minor (person under 19 years) possessing or consuming Cannabis: $360 fine;

* Supplying Cannabis to a minor: $1050 fine;

* Supplying Cannabis to a minor by a licensed permittee: $3150 fine;

* Licensed permittee failing to demand proof of age: $3150 fine;

* Possessing more than 30 grams of Cannabis : $250 fine;

* Consuming Cannabis in a public place: $250 fine;

* Consuming Cannabis at or near school grounds: $1400 fine;

The laws with regards to driving while under the influence of Cannabis are quite restrictive. A series of new legal limits has been put in place in the Criminal Code that deal with the amount of Tetrahydrocannabinol in the blood, or THC, as it is commonly known. I will address Cannabis and driving laws in next week’s article.

If you have any topics you would like to see addressed in this forum, please email them to me at chief@rmcormanpark.ca, and I’ll attempt to do so in a subsequent article.

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