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Everything you need to know about cannabis in Nova Scotia

Halifax and the rest of the province is gearing up for legalization, so we have all the details about where to buy, smoke, and grow your cannabis in Nova Scotia.

HALIFAX — Any adult who feels inclined can spark up on Wednesday when pot becomes legal.

Many Canadians have been watching the days tick down to Oct. 17 when Bill C-45 comes into effect, making recreational marijuana legal. However, there’s a patchwork approach to selling and consuming across the country, so it’s important to know what the rules are wherever you live.

We have gathered the answers to the most pressing questions for Nova Scotians around legalization, so you’ll be in the know however you choose to consume or simply learn more about the historic change.

How old do you have to be?

Much like having your first legal drink at 19, you’ll now be able to smoke then, too. In N.S., 19 is the legal age to use, buy, grow or possess cannabis. If you’re under 19, you can be fined or face criminal charges.

Where can I buy it?

Nova Scotia is one of the only provinces bringing cannabis into their existing liquor stores.

The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) is the only authorized retailer of cannabis in the province, and weed can be purchased by anyone of legal age at 12 designated NSLC stores across N.S. or online for home delivery. The downtown Halifax NSLC on Clyde St. is the only stand-alone cannabis store, which will have the most variety and amount of products.

The four HRM locations are 650 Portland St. in Dartmouth, 5540 Clyde St. and 3601 Joseph Howe Dr. in Halifax, and 752 Sackville Dr. in Lower Sackville.

In order to access its website to place cannabis orders, customers will need an access code. Those will be available at all NSLC stores provincewide beginning on Oct. 17.

To be eligible for an online access code, customers must present a valid photo ID to help ensure no one under the age of 19 can access the website.

Private cannabis dispensaries are currently illegal in N.S. and will remain so after Oct.17.

What will be sold at the NSLC?

The NSLC website at mynslc.com says they’ll initially sell dried and fresh cannabis, cannabis oil and cannabis accessories. It is likely their products will include prepackaged dried cannabis flowers (buds) as well as pre-rolled cannabis, seeds, cannabis oil, and a selection of related accessories required for consumption.

The NSLC has set cannabis at three price points: Value — priced between $6.33 and $8.49 per gram; Core — sold at between $9.00 and $10.98 per gram; and Premium — priced at $10.99 per gram and above.

Prices are to be determined by brand and package size with a price per gram that decreases as the product package size increases, while pre-rolls and accessories will also be sold at a variety of prices.

Seeds and cannabis oil won’t be available right away on Oct.17, however, the corporation says the products will be added to its inventory when they are available from producers.

While you can make your own edibles at home for personal use, it will remain illegal under federal law to sell edibles, including through the NSLC.

Where can I smoke cannabis?

In short, your best bet will be in a private residence, backyard, or smoke-friendly places within your town or city.

If you rent, your landlord may amend your lease and put rules in place about cannabis smoking or growing. For more information, visit Service Nova Scotia.

The rules that tobacco smokers have had to follow in the past remain the same for cannabis use. Nova Scotia’s Smoke-free Places Act bans the use of all combustibles like cannabis, tobacco, and e-cigarettes in all indoor work and public places, within four metres of windows, air intake vents and entrances to buildings, as well as outdoor licensed areas and patios of all kinds. See a full list here.

New additions to the act also ban smoking within 20 metres of outdoor public playgrounds or a publicly owned sport venue, within nine metres of public trails, and at all times in provincial parks and beaches except for within a rented campsite.

Municipalities may decide to pass bylaws that put additional smoking restrictions in place, like in Halifax where a new bylaw bans smoking (tobacco and cannabis) from all municipal property outside of Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs).

As of Monday, there were only nine DSAs in HRM at various transit terminals — but none on the Halifax peninsula. That changed on Tuesday as the number grew to more than 30.

How much can I grow, and where?

Adults of legal age can grow up to four cannabis plants per household. Each apartment in a house or building is considered a separate household.

However, like smoking, municipalities can place more rules on where you grow, so check with your specific town to see if they’re more strict.

In urban and suburban areas of HRM, plants have to be grown inside your home or in a detached structure, like a shed or greenhouse. If you live on a rural lot where you don’t have municipal sewer and water, you can grow your plants outside.

How much can I have?

You’re allowed to have up to 30 grams of dried cannabis (or equivalent) with you in public.

There are no restrictions on how much weed you can keep in your home, as long as it’s for personal use. The province reminds people to store cannabis safely and keep it away from kids and pets.

What happens if I break the law?

You can be fined up to $2,000 for a bylaw violation like smoking where you’re not supposed to, according to the Halifax municipality.

If you’re underage, any cannabis you have will be seized and you may be fined up to $150, while if you’re under 18 and in possession of more than five grams, it is a criminal offence.

If you’re over 18 and in possession of more than 30 grams, it is a criminal offence under the federal Cannabis Act and if you sell or give cannabis to someone under 19 or involve them in a cannabis-related crime you may be fined up to $10,000.

Can I drive while smoking?

No, cannabis in any form cannot be used in cars by passengers or drivers. You may be fined up to $2,000 for consumption in a vehicle, or another $2,000 for improper storage if cannabis is not in a closed, sealed package and out of reach from anyone in the vehicle.

How does this change affect me as a medical marijuana user?

It won’t. If you’ve been authorized by your doctor and Health Canada to access cannabis for medical purposes, you can still buy it from a licenced producer, or grow your own for medical use.

How will cannabis make me feel?

The experience will differ from person to person, but it’s good to know how much THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is in your cannabis since that ingredient impacts your brain and body.

If you smoke or inhale cannabis, the effects will likely be felt almost immediately, while if you consume cannabis as a food or beverage, the effects may be more delayed and can last longer, according to the province.

Varying amounts, types and forms of cannabis can cause different lengths and levels of impairment, says the NSLC. You can always begin with low THC percentages and slowly learn how you react.

But if you’re still nervous and want more information, there will be a phone number and an online chat window available with NSLC employees standing by during store hours to answer any questions.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Canada?

Recreational cannabis was legalized on October 17, 2018, under the Federal Government of Canada’s Cannabis Act, but there still remains quite a bit of confusion about what products are legal. CBD oil made from cannabis plants, and produced by Health Canada approved Licensed Producers are legal, both medicinally and recreationally.

Is CBD Oil legal in Canada?

Recreational cannabis was made legal in Canada on 17th October 2018, while medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2001. It is only safe to assume that CBD oil extracted from the plant strains would be legal as well, right? Almost. There is a common misunderstanding that just because CBD does not have the same effects as THC, it is legal.

The current law states that it is legal for the consumer to purchase CBD Oil only if:

  • It was purchased through Licensed Producer or outlets like Ontario Cannabis Store
  • (If they are purchasing medically) with permission from licensed healthcare practitioners.

The CBD oil that you currently purchase from a convenience store, health food stores and other unregulated outlets are illegal and not controlled by the government. Therefore, the quality and potency of such products are questionable. Hemp CBD is a different product than what is sold under the cannabis act and medically.

On October 17th, 2019, new laws were written to amend the cannabis act to make CBD oil and other products more accessible to the Canadian market. This also means that CBD oil and other products will come under the government’s purview to ensure that it meets stringent quality standards to ensure public safety.

The laws with regards to Cannabis Consumption across Canada varies across provinces and each has their independent federal ruling. Therefore, the CBD laws across the country can be a bit tricky to navigate.

The law currently does not clearly separate CBD from Cannabis; hence it is particularly confusing. The onslaught of ‘CBD’ products in the market have not necessarily been tested to meet the regulations. The upcoming laws specific to CBD products are expected to bring some clarity.

The following is a comprehensive guide to navigate Cannabis legally across the various Canadian provinces.

The general Cannabis rule in Canada states that users can possess and share 30 grams of cannabis publicly provided it was acquired through regulated sources. They can even grow 4 plants residentially for personal use only. While the law is clear about Cannabis, the stipulations with regards to the production and sale of Cannabis products and extracts will be implemented on 19th October 2019.

Interested in speaking to a healthcare practitioner at Apollo for a free virtual appointment?
Get your free CBD prescription here.

The Canadian government portal states:

Adults are legally able to purchase fresh and dried cannabis, cannabis oils and seeds or plants for cultivation from authorized retailers. The sale and production of edibles, pre-filled vaporizer pens (extracts), & topicals were introduced on Oct. 17, 2019 (Often referred to as Cannabis 2.0) and became legal for:

  • provincial and territorial retailers
  • federally licensed sellers of cannabis for medical purposes

To regulate the distribution and sale of Cannabis across provinces, the government has set rules around who can purchase the products, store operations, and locations of these stores.

Furthermore, each province and territory has adopted its own excise stamp for all legal cannabis products except for the ones with no THC.

What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a derivative compound extracted from cannabis plants. It does not contain THC which leads to the altered state of mind or the ‘high’. Therefore, CBD does not have psychoactive elements. It also comes in an oil format that is edible and can be used for its medicinal properties.

Multiple research shows that CBD oil can be used for treating anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It also has pain-relieving properties; therefore, it can be used for chronic pain.

CBD Oil can be purchased through a Licensed Producer (LP) for patients who have a medical prescription to consume cannabis. You may also be able to purchase CBD oil in legal recreational outlets such as the Ontario Cannabis store, or approved brick & mortar retailers, however, ( at the time this blog was published ) supply is less consistent, than purchasing directly from an LP with a medical cannabis prescription. CBD oil found in health food stores, convenience stores, or in illegal dispensaries is not legal or regulated for quality or potency.

Canada’s Cannabis Regulations by Province Image source: https://lift.co/magazine/cannabis-provincial-guidelines

Interested in speaking to a healthcare practitioner at Apollo for a free virtual appointment?
Get your CBD prescription here.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Alberta?

Legal age for consumption: 18

Legally permissible limit: 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent

Where can you buy legally: Only Private licensed stores and online

Where can you smoke: Anywhere where tobacco can be consumed. Not allowed in public areas like restaurants, bars, parks, workplaces, etc.

The user must be 18 years of age and can publicly consume and share 30 grams of cannabis. They can also cultivate 4 plants at home provided they are sourced from licensed producers. The online sale of cannabis is regulated by the Government and is the only legal online provider in Alberta.

The Cannabis law in Alberta states that smoking Cannabis inside a vehicle is illegal unless it is a parked RV. Driving intoxicated and under the influence is again subject to the vehicle being impounded for 3 days and the license being suspended for 90 days.

If the user is living in a rental residential premise, the Landlord has the right to prevent cannabis consumption in the house and can also serve an eviction notice in case of violation of terms.

Is CBD Oil Legal in British Columbia?

Legal age for consumption: 19

Legally permissible limit: 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent

Where can you buy legally: Only Government-operated stores and online

Where can you smoke: Anywhere where tobacco can be consumed. Not allowed in public areas like restaurants, bars, parks, workplaces, etc.

The licensing process in BC is more restrictive, with distribution only permissible through government-operated stores. Therefore, the province has been slow in licensing other retailers.

Like Alberta, the consumption limit and home cultivation laws remain the same. The legal age for consumption is 19 and it has to be in private. If caught under the influence while driving, the user faces the same consequences as DUI with alcohol.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Manitoba?

Legal age for consumption: 19

Legally permissible limit: 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent

Where can you buy legally: Private licensed stores or online

Where can you smoke: Similar to smoking and vaping laws in Manitoba, public smoking is very restricted

Unlike other states, cultivating weed at home is illegal. This has something to do with stringent laws in the province that also restrict public smoking and vaping. The users are not allowed to smoke on streets, sidewalks, on grounds of public buildings and healthcare facilities. Although technically public smoking is not illegal, it is very restrictive.

Is CBD Oil Legal in New Brunswick?

Legal age for consumption: 19

Legally permissible limit: 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent

Where can you buy legally: Government-operated stores or online

Where can you smoke: Not in public spaces

The user can cultivate 4 plants at home for personal use provided they are sourced from licensed producers. The laws also specify a secured locked space for indoor cultivation and locked fencing for outdoor cultivation. The online sale of cannabis is regulated by the Government and is the only legal online provider.

It is illegal to have cannabis in or on a vehicle in this province.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Newfoundland and Labrador?

Legal age for consumption: 19

Legally permissible limit: 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent

Where can you buy legally: Private licensed stores or online

Where can you smoke: Only in private residence

The user must be 19 and is allowed to grow 4 plants at home for personal use. Like New Brunswick, the consumption is allowed only in private residences and not in pubic. The cannabis can be purchased through licensed retailers or through a government-controlled online website.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Nova Scotia?

Legal age for consumption: 19

Legally permissible limit: 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent

Where can you buy legally: Government-operated stores or online

Where can you smoke: Designated public places

The individual must be of 19 years of age to purchase, consume or cultivate cannabis. Smoking cannabis in public places is restricted and allowed only in designated areas similar to tobacco products.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Nunavut?

Legal age for consumption: 19

Legally permissible limit: 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent

Where can you buy legally: Government-operated online store or by phone

Where can you smoke: Only in designated cannabis lounges, prohibited everywhere else

While the user can plant 4 plants as home cultivation, the landlord has the right to restrict cannabis plantation on his property. Driving under weed intoxication can lead to suspension, fines and other penalties.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Ontario?

Legal age for consumption: 19

Legally permissible limit: 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent

Where can you buy legally: Private licensed stores and government-operated online store

Where can you smoke: Only in private

Ontario Cannabis Store, controlled by LCBO, is one of the distributors of cannabis in Ontario. The individual must be of 19 years of age to purchase and consume weed. As with other provinces, they are allowed to cultivate 4 plants for personal use at each residence. Smoking cannabis in public in Ontario is not permitted, one can only consume it in private or on one’s porch or patio.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Prince Edward Island?

Legal age for consumption: 19

Legally permissible limit: 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent

Where can you buy legally: Government-operated stores or online

Where can you smoke: Only in private

A person who is of 19 years of age or more is permitted to buy, consume cannabis in a private residence. They are not allowed to consume weed in public spaces. The cannabis must be kept away from children’s reach at all times.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Quebec?

Legal age for consumption: 21

Legally permissible limit: 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent with a 150 gms limit per residence

Where can you buy legally: Government-operated stores or online

Where can you smoke: Anywhere where tobacco can be consumed. Not allowed in public areas like restaurants, bars, parks, workplaces, schools and universities

Quebec does not permit the home cultivation of cannabis. All supply of cannabis products in the province is controlled by the government. With regards to permissible quantity, 30 gms are permitted in public and a maximum of 150 gms in private residences.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Saskatchewan?

Legal age for consumption: 19

Legally permissible limit: 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent

Where can you buy legally: Private licensed stores or online

Where can you smoke: Only in private

Compared to other provinces, Saskatchewan has a private distribution model. The consumption, cultivation and purchase are still permissible only for 19 years and older. They can cultivate up to 4 plants at home.

Consumption in public is not permitted by the government.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Yukon?

Legal age for consumption: 19

Legally permissible limit: 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent

Where can you buy legally: Government-operated stores or online

Where can you smoke: Prohibited in Public

The Cannabis laws in Yukon are similar to a few other provinces. An individual of or over the age of 19 can cultivate 4 plants per residence. However, consumption is limited to private space.

Way forward for CBD in the Canadian landscape

Edible products to be legalized after 17th October 2019

Exactly a year from Cannabis legalization, the government has set rules for other CBD products. This brings exciting opportunities for retailers to grow their market and increase access to CBD. The edibles market is expected to be regulated than now and manufacturers will have to follow strict guidelines if they want to play in the CBD market.

Supply of CBD and Cannabis in Canada

A steady supply of regulated Cannabis and preventing the public from buying the ‘street weed’ is still a cause of concern. Many licensed retail shops across provinces were shut due to a lack of supply. While legitimizing cannabis in Canada has been a boon to medical users, the government is navigating the processes to keep the public away from the unorganized market.

Lack of a uniform rule across the Country is a major pain point

There is a lack of uniformity in the implementation of the Cannabis Act in Canada across provinces. While the 30 grams quantity and prohibited consumption in a vehicle is the common factor, the varied legal age across provinces can be a bone of contention with consumers across the country.

While the law is considerate about keeping young children away from cannabis and discourages consumption around them by restricting public spaces of consumption. There is still concern regarding edible products reaching this young demographic.

The upcoming amendments are expected to address some of these concerns.

Interested in speaking to a healthcare practitioner at Apollo for a free virtual appointment?
Get your CBD prescription here.

Medical Cannabis in Canada

Medical cannabis became legal in Canada in 2001. Initially, only two types of patients were eligible for medical cannabis: those requiring end-of-life care and patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions.

This created an upsurge in illegal cannabis use and patients buying their medicine from unregulated sources. As a response, lawmakers put into effect the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) in April 2014. These regulations stipulated that licensed medical patients must buy their cannabis from a Licensed Producer (LP) who was regulated by Health Canada.

In August 2016 the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) replaced the existing Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR). The ACMPR recognized a patient’s right to produce medical cannabis in all forms including oils, tinctures, edibles and plant flowers. Under the new law patients were no longer required to purchase cannabis only from an LP and could now produce their own medicine, with a valid authorization from their Healthcare Practitioner.

On October 17th 2018, Canada introduced the Cannabis Act, or Bill C-45. Under this new legislation, both medical and recreational cannabis use is federally legal in Canada. There are minimal changes to the medical stream, as patients can continue to purchase directly from their licensed producers and have their medical cannabis mailed directly to their home, including regulated & tested CBD oil.

How Does CBD Oil Work?

CBD oil acts on the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is found in all mammals and contains CB1 and CB2 receptors, more receptors than any other system in the human body. Human bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids, which in turn, act on the receptors to produce a physiologic response. CBD introduces extra cannabinoids into the ECS and can help to regulate many of the body’s functions. CBD gives your body more of what it already produces to promote health, well-being and return to homeostasis.

Endocannabinoid Deficiency

Endocannabinoid Deficiency is the term used to describe a lack of endocannabinoid activity in the human brain. The term was coined by Dr. Ethan Russo in 2004 and is thought to be linked to certain medical conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, seizure disorders and many more. CBD therapy can activate and engage the endocannabinoid system so that crucial body systems become regulated and maintained.

The endocannabinoid system acts as a master conductor, sending chemical messages and triggering biological actions throughout the body that are critical to health and well-being.

Benefits and Uses of CBD Oil

CBD oil is becoming a more mainstream, natural remedy used for many common ailments and symptoms. Unlike THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid and will not make the user feel “high”. This allows CBD oil to be consumed in a safe way that should not interfere with activities of daily life.

Many individuals are turning to CBD oil as a replacement for pharmaceutical drugs that may have numerous side effects. Other individuals choose to use CBD oil to manage the side effects of medication, such as opioids.

CBD oil is a discreet way to consume CBD and does not require the user to smoke or vape the product. Many seniors and baby-boomers have begun using CBD due to its anti-inflammatory properties and beneficial effects on overall well-being.

Prohibition of Cannabis in Canada

Although the use of cannabis can be traced back hundreds of years, to ancient Chinese medicine, it remained almost unheard of in Canada until the 1900’s. Soon after its introduction to Canada, cannabis was placed on the Confidential Restricted List under the Narcotics Drug Act Amendment Bill after the bill was created in 1923.

Some historians believe that cannabis was restricted due to the publication of the book entitled The Black Candle , by Emily Murphy, in 1922. Emily Murphy was a police magistrate and suffragist who often wrote for Maclean’s Magazine under the pen name Janey Canuck. Her arguments were based on information from anti-drug reformers and police officers, and her book invoked panic after she referred to a “new drug called marijuana” being popular amongst immigrants. Ms. Murphy used numerous prohibitionist anecdotes to show how immigrants, particularly the Chinese, would corrupt the white race.

Cannabis began to gain popularity in Canada in the 1930’s, although the first arrest for cannabis possession did not occur until 1937. Between 1946 and 1961 only 2% of drug arrests in Canada were related to cannabis.

The Popularization of Cannabis

The popularization of cannabis in Canada boomed in the 1960’s, due in part to the “hippie ethos” which spread northward from the United States. Cannabis was being discussed in underground newspapers and on underground radio stations across the country. College students were rejecting traditional values and began to question law makers and authority figures.

Cannabis use increased significantly in the 1980’s and 1990’s as people began using cannabis to treat a wide array of health concerns. Growing use of cannabis for medicinal purposes became a concern for lawmakers. They were forced to put in place medical allowances for cannabis use and in 2001 a regulation on access to cannabis for medical purposes was established.

Summary

In order to purchase CBD oil it is recommended that you have a valid medical cannabis prescription/ authorization to consume medical cannabis. This is so you have consistent access to supply from Licensed Producers, and the medical advice on dosing and product selection to be successful with using CBD oil to treat a symptom or condition.

If you are interested in speaking with a doctor about obtaining a medical recommendation for cannabis or CBD oil, please contact Apollo to book an appointment.