The Legality of Cannabis Stores in Canada

cannabis stores in canada

If you haven’t heard, you can now purchase marijuana products and seeds from cannabis stores in Canada. Recreational cannabis was legalized in the country on October 17, 2018, by the federal government.  There are now regulations regarding the purchase, handling, and growing of cannabis. The goal of regulation is to keep cannabis off the hands of the youth, to keep communities safe, and to make sure that cannabis is sold legally in the country.

Basic rules regarding cannabis

To be able to buy, handle, and purchase cannabis, you must be at least 19 years of age. This age is the same age for tobacco and alcohol use in the country. There are provinces like Quebec that have opted for the minimum age requirement set at 18 years of age.

You are allowed to smoke or vape cannabis products in your own home, in some public areas, designated smoking areas, residential boats, and vehicles and in research facilities. You cannot drive or work under the influence of cannabis. If you are caught driving while you are under the influence of the drug, you may face penalties, license suspension and/or jail time.

Some provinces allow the use of cannabis but do not permit growing it. With the different rules, you must always be aware of wherever you are.

Where to buy recreational cannabis in Canada

The use and purchase of cannabis are regulated by each province. There are provinces where there are actual cannabis stores or dispensaries such as in Quebec. While there are other provinces that do not have actual stores but have legal cannabis online stores. These online dispensaries are the only ways to purchase cannabis in the region.

Retail distribution and sale of cannabis per Canadian province



In Ontario, after cannabis was legalized, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario was the sole vendor of cannabis but was not distributed through the 600+ stores that sell liquor in the province. The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation or the Ontario Cannabis Store dealt with the online sale of cannabis. There were physical stores in selected municipalities in the province.

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In the middle of 2018, new rules regarding the sale of cannabis were set in place. The Progressive Conservative government of Ontario formulated new plans stating that the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp. will handle online selling of cannabis as well as the wholesale distribution of products to authorized private retailers.

The corporation will sell cannabis to the public and will be done online. There are plans to open retail stores operated by private owners while the corporation will remain as the wholesaler of cannabis products. Online sales will continue and an online system to verify age will be set in place.

Ontario will not place a cap on the number of retails stores owned by private individuals. Applications for business permits will be handled by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. The board will also inspect these shops before opening to ensure that these meet standards for safety and compliance to regulations.

New Brunswick, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and other provinces

In the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, cannabis may be purchased from dedicated government-owned stores just like how liquor is sold as well. However, growing your own supply at home is not permitted in Manitoba and in Quebec.

All the provinces other than Manitoba have plans to set up an online site where customers can directly purchase.

Quebec plans to permit 20 stores to help customers purchase their supplies. The clamor for more stores is felt in the province because of consumers that are not comfortable purchasing cannabis seeds in Canada online.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, there will be different retail stores as well. In these areas, breeders and growers should procure a license to operate from a single retail store with a production facility.

In Saskatchewan, there are plans to open 51 cannabis dispensaries. Alberta plans to start 250 stores because of the growing demand for recreational and medicinal cannabis.

Each province has its own rules and procedures on how retail stores are set up. There are also rules on the selling of cannabis and these may also vary according to the ownership of the retail outlets (whether owned by the government or by a private individual).

How to purchase from Legal Cannabis Stores in Canada

Almost all provinces have adopted common rules regarding the purchase of cannabis in legal dispensaries. But there are rules in buying and consuming cannabis in different areas, municipalities and boroughs. Because of these jumbled rules on cannabis buying, you must check these out before you purchase from any dispensary.

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Upon entry to a dispensary, security personnel will ask for your identification card. You need to present this before entering. The guard has the right to prohibit entry for anyone who does not meet the minimum age requirement for the province.

The stores are recommended to have minimal displays on their interiors. You might find informative posters and leaflets that you can read as you wait for your orders.

You will find cannabis in different forms that you can hold, check, and inspect for quality. However, you are not allowed to try or consume these while you are inside the dispensary. The purpose of these samples is to smell the aroma of the strain you want to buy.

Dried flowers are also sold inside breeders’ packaging. These packs are made to handle storing cannabis for a long time and have several information including the name of the strain, the date it was harvested, the name of the breeder, the type of strain (whether Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, Cannabis ruderalis), the amount of weed inside the package and the cannabinoid and terpene content.

The cannabinoid content includes the amount of THC, THCA, CBD, CBN, and terpene. A short description of the possible effects or side effects may also be placed on the packaging information.

Once your name is called by a representative, you need to proceed to another room where your orders will be prepared and where you can pay for your purchases. The mode of payment accepted at these dispensaries is cash and credit cards.

There are cannabis dispensaries that may have ATMs inside the premises. This will allow customers to safely withdraw cash for payment in case they don’t want to use their credit cards for payment. Other modes of payment like bank transfers, Western Union, wire transfers, and cryptocurrency are not accepted.

Once your orders are ready, you may now leave the dispensary. The representative that assisted you is trained to answer questions about cannabis use and maybe even growing weed. You can ask about your orders, the effects of the strain, and how to use the strain.

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Online buying

Most cannabis stores in Canada that have physical stores may have online counterparts. These online stores make it easier for people who live remotely in a province to purchase cannabis. These stores have products that are also available from their physical store counterparts.

And just like buying from an actual dispensary, you need to be at least 18 or 19 years of age depending on the legal age to purchase cannabis in a province. Payments for orders vary and most payments are done using credit cards, bank transfers, and cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.

Deliveries for online purchases are done via Canada Post. To receive your orders from the courier, you must present an ID. If you cannot be at home to receive your package, it won’t be left at the doorstep. A card or a message will be left stating when and where you can get your package from the nearest post office.

If you want someone else to receive your package on your behalf, leave a letter of authorization stating so. Your representative should also be 18 or 19 years of age and must show an ID to receive your order.

Cannabis Stores Cannada buying limit and medical cannabis

In most provinces, there are limits to how much you can purchase from a store. Mostly you are only allowed 30 grams of dried cannabis. But if you need to purchase more for a medical condition, you must secure a medical card and prescription from an authorized medical representative.

There are separate rules regarding medical cannabis purchases. Usually, a designated dispensary for medical cannabis is set up. These dispensaries are similar to the structure of recreational cannabis but with a few differences.

Because cannabis patients can be of any age, it is common for patient representatives like parents, caregivers, and volunteers to purchase on behalf of their patients. For this, you must have an identification card, prescription, and medical care of the patient.

Representatives here will be able to provide you with more information about the different effects, medical conditions treated by the strain, side effects, and more. Cannabis stores Canada that sell medical strains will also sell cannabis in different forms such as oils, concentrates, edibles, and supplements. This is to help people who cannot smoke or vape cannabis take their daily dose.


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