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:
Possession limits for individuals:
Limitations on location of usage:
Access to medical cannabis:
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.
A summary of cannabis-related guidance from the CPSO, CMPA and the OMA Legal and Economics departments.
Information to help you understand the new laws around cannabis-impaired driving, discuss the risks with patients, and understand your responsibilities.
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.
Canadian Public Health Association
Cannabasics - Information Package
Fact sheets for health and social service providers that give an overview of cannabis plants and products, methods of consumption, and information to better understand harm reduction.
Centre for Effective Practice
Non-Medical Cannabis Resource
Printable resource designed to help providers discuss non-medical cannabis use with their patients in a safe and non-judgmental environment.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines
Handout for healthcare professionals summarizing the ten recommendations from the Lower Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines.
Ontario Medical Association
Talking to Patients About Recreational Cannabis
Overview of health risks associated with recreational cannabis use and considerations to guide a conversation with patients about recreational cannabis.
What You Should Know About Recreational Cannabis - Infographic
Infographic that reviews the basics of cannabis and the risks and harms associated with cannabis use.
Cannabis may not be suitable for all patients. Several publications from Health Canada, the CFPC, and others, have identified a set of special risk populations in the context of both medical and recreational cannabis use:
A summary of ten recommendations for lower-risk cannabis use:
Full paper is available here:
Fischer B, Russell C, Sabioni P, van den Brink W, Le Foll B, Hall W, et al. Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines: A Comprehensive Update of Evidence and Recommendations. Public Health Policy. 2017;107(8):e1-e12.
Resources to help physicians better prepare for and manage acute cannabis-related presentations.
Toxicologist and ER physician Dr. Kennon Heard draws from the experience of emergency departments in Colorado to comment on the factors that have contributed to the rise of cannabis-related visits to the ER. He addresses the pharmacology of cannabis and explores six common cases while offering practical advice to help Ontario’s ER physicians better prepare for and manage cannabis-related presentations.
PDF Reference Document
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
You can adjust your cookie settings by navigating the tabs on the left hand side.
These cookies are necessary for the website to function and allow users to log in. Without this type of cookie, our services won't work properly or won't be able to provide certain basic features and functionalities.
This setting cannot be changed.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.
These cookies are used to link web visits to social media campaigns conducted through social sites, such as Facebook. Our ad management providers use these cookies to populate an advertisement for us when you visit other websites.
Please enable Strictly Necessary Cookies first so that we can save your preferences!
Google Analytics page views are anonymized, with no personally identifying information. These cookies are used to analyse how visitors use a website, for instance which pages are visited most often, in order to provide a better user experience.
We participate in advertising programs that display advertising about us on other unaffiliated websites (e.g. Facebook). We customize this advertising to you based on your having visited our website.
We use technologies such as cookies and pixels to collect information on how users navigate our website.
If you do not want to receive interest-based advertising on other websites or would like to exercise choices about the third party advertising networks that provide you with interest-based advertising, please see the opt-out options below. Please note that if you opt-out you may still receive online advertising from us on other websites or applications. However, these advertisements will not be displayed to you based on your interests.
Interest-Based Advertising and Analytics. You can opt-out of network advertising programs that track your activities across multiple websites to deliver personalized advertising content to you. Please visit Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada Opt-Out Page, NAI Opt-Out Page and the Ad Choices Opt-Out Page.
Cookies. If you would prefer not to accept cookies, you can: (i) go to your browser settings and change your settings so you are notified when you receive a cookie and you can choose whether or not to accept it; (ii) disable existing cookies by selecting this option in your browser; or (iii) set your browser to automatically reject any cookies. Disabling cookies may negatively impact how oma.org works for you by breaking the “stay signed in” functionality and parts of the “My Account” application.
Privacy Officer150 Bloor St. WSuite 900Toronto, ONM5S 3C1