Illegal vs Legal Cannabis in Canada: where the landscape sits now

Amber Craig Ask 420, Blog Leave a Comment

As most of you know, cannabis is being federally legalized for recreational use in Canada, on July 1, 2018. Until that time however, the only way to legally purchase cannabis in Canada, is through the federally regulated medical cannabis program (ACMPR). Because there are so many illegal operations in Canada right now, it can be foggy for the average consumer to understand what is a legal business and what is an illegal one. We are constantly getting questions surrounding this issue, so we are going to address some of the biggest concerns, in the hopes of clarifying the current cannabis landscape in Canada.

  • Dispensaries are 100 per cent illegal. Regardless of the province you are in, dispensaries are 100 per cent illegal in Canada at a federal level. The black market is hugely prevalent in some provinces, which can make things confusing for people when they see storefronts operating in this space. But make no mistake, these are illegal operations with unregulated product. This means that any business, including medical cannabis resource centres, will never have cannabis products.
  • Products sold in dispensaries is unregulated and illegal. You can only obtain medical cannabis with a prescription and from a Licensed Producer in Canada, and those Licensed Producers are not allowed to sell product to dispensaries, so dispensaries get their supply from the black market. The product is not tested and not regulated, as it is via Health Canada with Licensed Producers.
  • There is no such thing as a cannabis card. What gives you legal access to medical cannabis is a prescription from a medical doctor. Though you may receive a card from a Licensed Producer when you register with them, this is not what allows you to legally possess product. Further to that, cards given out by illegal dispensaries are not valid.
  • Only Licensed Producers can sell cannabis online. If you are not on a website for one of the 79 Licensed Producers in Canada, that is illegal product. Dispensaries are not allowed to operate in the online space either.
  • Edibles are illegal in Canada. While the federal government has referenced plans to legalize edibles in the recreational market one year following legalization date (July 2019), they are currently illegal in our country. As for what products are available via Licensed Producers, you will have to check the inventory and product list for these companies online. However, our knowledgeable staff can help guide you in this process.

If you are looking for clarification on our services and how this process works, please see our website. Further, feel free to contact us, you can ask us anything!


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