Cannabis Resource Centre
Supporting Ontario’s physicians on key topics related to recreational and medical cannabis
Cannabis Resource Centre
Supporting Ontario’s physicians on key topics related to recreational and medical cannabis

As of October 17, 2018, recreational cannabis use is legal in Canada under the Cannabis Act. The Act outlines a framework for federal control over the production, distribution, sale, and possession of both medical and recreational cannabis.

The legal framework for access to medical cannabis, under which physicians can sign medical documents authorizing access (i.e. prescribe) for patients, was previously outlined in the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR),1 under the Controlled Substances Act. 2 This legal framework remains the same after the legalization of recreational cannabis use, however it is now outlined in the new Cannabis Regulations3 under the Cannabis Act. 4

For recreational cannabis, the federal government has set the legal age to buy and consume cannabis at 18, but each province and territory has established its own legal framework around the sale, consumption, and possession of cannabis, much like they have done for alcohol and tobacco.5

In Ontario, Bill 174: The Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario, and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act outlines the following parameters for recreational cannabis: 6,7


Minimum age to buy, sell, and consume cannabis:

  • 19

Possession limits for individuals:

  • 30 grams (approximately one ounce) in public
  • Four plants per residence

Limitations on location of usage:

  • Cannabis consumption is permitted almost anywhere that tobacco smoking is allowed, including private residences and most outdoor public spaces.
  • Cannabis consumption is not permitted in vehicles or boats (with the exception of parked or anchored residential vehicles/boats).

Retail framework:

  • The online Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation is the only approved vendor to sell fresh and dried cannabis, cannabis oil, and cannabis plant seeds for recreational use. Edible cannabis products are not yet legal under the federal government.
  • The Ontario government plans to launch a private bricks-and-mortar retail model regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario in April 2019. All cannabis sold in these stores will be sourced from the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation as the exclusive wholesaler.

Access to medical cannabis:

  • Health Canada has maintained its distinct framework for access to cannabis for medical purposes even after the legalization of recreational use.

Resources for Members

Leading up to legalization, the OMA surveyed members on topics related to both medical and recreational cannabis to identify the areas where Ontario’s physicians feel they require the most support. The resources in this library have been created or sourced according to the key areas of concern identified by members in the survey.

Professional Responsibilities

A summary of cannabis-related guidance from the CPSO, CMPA and the OMA Legal and Economics departments.

Cannabis and Driving

Information to help you understand the new laws around cannabis-impaired driving, discuss the risks with patients, and understand your responsibilities.

Medical Cannabis

A collection of multimedia learning resources exploring topics from cannabinoid basics to current clinical evidence for use and special risk populations.

  • Tools to help inform and guide your conversations with patients about recreational cannabis.

  • Resources to help physicians better prepare for and manage acute cannabis-related presentations.


1Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, SOR/2016-230.

2Controlled Substances Act, 1996, S.C.1996, c. 19.

3Cannabis Regulations, SOR/2018-144.

4Cannabis Act, 2018, SC. 2018, c 16.

5 Government of Canada. Cannabis in Canada . Ottawa, ON: 2018. [cited Sep 20 2018].

6 Bill 174, Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2nd Sess, 41st Leg, Ontario, 2017

7 Government of Ontario. Cannabis Legalization [Internet]. Toronto, ON: 2018. [cited Sep 20 2018].

Updated: February 8th, 2019