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.
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: December 6, 2018