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Ontario's landscape is full of green with two-thirds of the province's land made up of forest.

Now with Canada's federal legalization of recreational cannabis, Ontario is taking on a new shade of green.

Of course, there are both federal and provincial laws in place and things you should know before deciding to smoke some dank krippy while wandering through Ontario's boreal forest.

Where to Buy

Under Ontario rules, adults 19 and older can buy adult-use cannabis through the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), which is currently the only legal option to buy recreationally and follows rules set by the federal government. Recreational cannabis consumers who have purchased through the OCS must verify their age upon delivery to their homes. The Ontario government is scheduled to launch a highly regulated private retail cannabis model by April 1, 2019. Once stores are open, consumers can look for the official cannabis retail seal to confirm that the store is appropriately licensed.

Those of legal age can buy up to 30 grams, or a little more than 1 ounce, of dried cannabis at one time for recreational, personal use.

The sale and production of medical cannabis are regulated by the national government and allows patients authorized by their health care provider to access cannabis by buying medical cannabis from a federally licensed seller, registering to grow it in limited amounts themselves or designating someone to grow it for them.

Possession

Only adults 19 and older can possess, use, and grow cannabis for recreational purposes. Medical and recreational cannabis can be smoked and vaped in:

  • Private residences.
  • Many outdoor public places including parks and sidewalks.
  • Designated guest rooms in hotels.
  • Controlled areas in:
    • Long-term care homes.
    • Some retirement homes.
    • Residential hospices.
    • Designated psychiatric or veterans' facilities.

The OCS sells dried flower, oils, capsules, prerolls, and seeds, but not edibles or concentrates because their sale has not yet been allowed. Federally, edibles and concentrates will be legal to sell about a year after the Cannabis Act came into effect on Oct. 17, 2018.

Consumption

There are several locations where marijuana consumption is prohibited:

  • Smoking or vaping isn't permitted in certain indoor places, including common areas in condominiums and college residences, in enclosed public places, and workplaces.
  • It isn't permitted in areas near where children gather, including on school grounds or in public areas within 20 meters, or about 65 feet, of school grounds, on children's playgrounds, or in child-care centers.
  • It also is prohibited near hospitals and related facilities, including within 9 meters, or about 30 feet, from the entrance or exit of a public or private hospital, psychiatric facility, long-term care home, or independent health facility.
  • It is prohibited in publicly owned spaces, including sports fields that are owned publicly, nearby spectator areas and public locations within 20 meters of these areas.
  • Use in vehicles and boats is restricted. Cannabis can't be consumed in a vehicle or boat in motion or one that might be put in motion.
  • Use is prohibited in other outdoor areas, including bar patios and public locations within 9 meters of a patio, on outdoor grounds of specified Ontario government office buildings and on the grounds of community recreational facilities and public locations within 20 meters of those grounds.

First-Time Use

Legalization of recreational cannabis use has opened up a whole new world for adults. It's important to educate yourself about the potential short- and long-term effects first before diving right in. Though there isn't much available for recreational users in Ontario yet in terms of physical retail locations for budtender question-and-answer sessions, consumers can do some online self-education in the meantime, including by reading through the Ontario Cannabis Stores' frequently asked questions. The most important thing to remember is start low and slow to avoid a trip you might regret.

Cannabis Legalization in Ontario, Canada

The Canadian government legalized recreational cannabis on Oct. 17, 2018, after first being introduced as the Cannabis Act on April 13, 2017. Ontario also passed the Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act 2018 on Oct. 17, 2018. Though the possession limit is the same (up to 30 grams), the age limit is not. It is 18 nationally but 19 in Ontario.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001.

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