It Will Be Illegal To Drive With Marijuana In Canada Unless You Take These Specific Precautions - MTL Blog

It Will Be Illegal To Drive With Marijuana In Canada Unless You Take These Specific Precautions

Don't get caught breaking minute regulations!

The legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada is only days away!

Ahead of the October 17th deadline, each province has passed its own new legal code covering everything from the distribution to the consumption of the drug.

ALSO READ: The First-Ever Complete List Of Every Recreational Marijuana Store In Each Major Canadian City

TL;DR Each province has different regulations that dictate the proper transportation of marijuana on roads and highways. This is a complete list of cannabis transportation rules in every province.

Because these regulations vary so dramatically from province to province, Canadians could easily find themselves in trouble if, as they pass from one province to another, they unsuspectingly violate minutely different provincial laws.

One issue in particular that has concerned marijuana users is the legal transporation of the drug from place of purchase or between legal points of consumption.

Indeed, each province has specific guidelines for how to transport cannabis. Infractions come with severe penalties.

To help you avoid legal trouble, we've compiled a complete list of regulations in every Canadian province that dictate the proper transporation of recreational marijuana. 

For each province, you'll see the exact language of cannabis regulations, their practical application, and the penalties associated with violations.

Stay safe! And don't drive high!


British Columbia

The transportation of cannabis is regulated by the Cannabis Control and Liscensing Act. BC probably has the most liberal laws regarding recreational marijuana in the country.

What the law says:

The law is at first straightforward: "an adult must not operate a vehicle, whether or not the vehicle is in motion, while the adult has personal possession of cannabis, or there is cannabis in the vehicle."

However, there is an exception for cannabis that is "still in the packaging from its purchase by a consumer and the packaging has never been opened" and/or "is not readily accessible to the driver and any passengers in the vehicle."

What this means for you:

Drivers in BC should:

– ideally transport cannabis only in its unopened original packaging
– ensure that no passengers possess cannabis
– keep cannabis out of reach of both driver and passengers (ideally in the trunk)

Penalties for not following these rules:

– possible immediate confiscation of the cannabis
– possible fine
– possible mandatory drug testing

For penalties regarding driving while high in British Columbia, reference this document.


Alberta

In Alberta, the regulations for the transportation of cannabis outlined in the federal Canabis Act will serve as default rules, according to the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Corporation (ALGC)

What the law says:

The ALGC website states that "you are allowed to transport cannabis in a vehicle, but it must be secured in closed packaging and not within reach of the driver or occupants."

What this means for you:

Driver should simply:

– store cannabis in an air-tight package
– keep cannabis out of reach of both driver and passengers (though not necessarily out of view)

Penalties for not following these rules:

– possible confiscation of cannabis
– possible mandatory drug testing
– possible fine

For penalties regarding driving while high in Alberta, reference this document.


Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan Cannabis Framework lists transportation regulations that apply in addition to those in the federal Cannabis Act.

What the law says:

Simply: "Cannabis can be transported from a place it can be legally purchased to a place where it can be legally consumed, or from one location of legal consumption to another."

What this means for you:

This is perhaps the most straightforward regulation in Canada. Motorists should:

– store cannabis in an air-tight package
– keep cannabis out of reach of both driver and passengers (though not necessarily out of view)

Penalties for not following these rules:

According to the government of Saskatchewan website:

– $300 fine

For penalties regarding driving while high in Saskatchewan, reference this document.


Manitoba

The Manitoba Highway Traffic Act is quite (even strangely) specific about the transportation of cannabis.

What the law says:

Drivers in Manitoba can transport cannabis:

– if "the cannabis is stored in the trunk" or, in the case of "station wagons" and "sport utility vehicles," "behind the rear of the last seat in the vehicle;"
– "in a cabinet or other storage compartment" in "motor homes;"
– if "the vehicle is an off-road vehicle;"
– "if the vehicle is a power-assisted bicycle;"
– "if the vehicle is a trailer;" 

What this means for you:

These is the most Manitoba-specific legislation ever. Drivers in the province are:

– only allowed to keep their marijuana in the trunk (or, in the absence of a trunk, behind the back seat) and in a sealed bag
– allowed to posses marijuana on their person if they are operating an off-road vehicle or bike, or live in a trailer

Penalties for not following these rules:

– possible fine
– possible mandatory drug test

For penalties regarding driving while high in Manitoba, reference this document.


Ontario

The Ontario Cannabis Act regulates the transport of cannabis. Its rules are potentially slippery so take heed:

What the law says:

According to the Ontario Cannabis Act, "no person shall drive or have the care or control of a vehicle or boat, whether or not it is in motion, while any cannabis is contained in the vehicle or boat."

That seems pretty severe and certainly circumvents legalization entirely.

In the succeeding subsection, the Act lists this "exception:"

Motorists can transport cannabis "that is packed in baggage that is fastened closed or is not otherwise readily available to any person in the vehicle or boat."

Obviously, those two clauses are contradictory.

Moreover, according to the law "a police officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that cannabis is being contained in a vehicle or boat in contravention [of the first subsection] may at any time, without a warrant, enter and search the vehicle or boat and search any person found in it.

What this means for you:

Because on its surface this law seems tricky, drivers should take extra precautions:

– seal your cannabis in bags that are air tight
– ensure that the bags do not smell at all of cannabis
– make sure your bags are not transparent
– ensure that even your passengers have no cannabis in their possession
– store bags of cannabis out of sight

Penalties for not following these rules:

– fine
– possible confiscation of cannabis
– possible arrest for mandatory blood or saliva testing
– possible charges

For penalties regarding driving while high in Ontario, reference this document.


Quebec

In Quebec, the transportation of cannabis is controlled by The Cannabis Regulation Act. Because the government will have a monopoly on cannabis distribution through the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC), the transportation of cannabis is strictly controlled.

What the law says:

"Only the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC), a person it authorizes... a cannabis producer, or any other person determined by government regulation may transport, including deliver, and store cannabis for commercial purposes."

Further, "the transportation of cannabis without a bill of lading indicating the names and addresses of the shipper and the receiver constitutes proof that it is intended for delivery in Québec."

What this means for you:

Drivers should take these precautions:

– only transport your cannabis in its original packaging from the SQDC
– if your bag is opened, store that bag in another air-tight bag
– conceal your cannabis in your car
– always travel with receipts that prove you purchased your cannabis at the SQDC

Penalties for not following these rules:

According to the Act, "anyone who contravenes the first paragraph commits an offence and is liable to a fine of $5,000 to $500,000. The amounts of the fines set out in the second and third paragraphs are doubled for a subsequent offence."

For penalties regarding driving while high in Quebec, reference this document.


New Brunswick

Provincial additions to the federal Cannabis Act regarding the transportation of cannabis are rather unclear. However, the New Brunswick Cannabis Control Act does list actions or evidence that could empower an officer to search a vehicle. From this list we can deduce how to properly transport the drug.

What the law says:

"An inspector may, at any reasonable time:

– "enter and inspect any place, area or vehicle... and make any examinations or inquiries or conduct any tests that the inspector considers necessary;
– "require the production of documents at [any] place, area or vehicle"

What this means for you:

Drivers should not give officers any cause to search their vehicle.

– store cannabis in air-tight bags
– make sure cannabis bags are out of sight
– store cannabis out of reach of driver
– keep receipts, when possible

Penalties for not following these rules:

– possible fine
– possible mandatory drug test

For penalties regarding driving while high in New Brunswick, reference this document.


Nova Scotia

The government of Nova Scotia has an easy fact sheet for cannabis regulations. As in Quebec, the government will have a monopoly of marijuana distribution.

What the law says:

"The rules for transporting cannabis in a vehicle will be the same as alcohol. Cannabis must be in a closed, sealed package and out of reach from anyone in the vehicle."

Moreover, "the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation will be the only authorized retailer of cannabis in Nova Scotia."

What this means for you:

– ensure that cannabis is in a sealed package
– ensure that cannabis is out of reach of driver and passengers (though not necessarily out of sight)
– be prepared to prove that you purchased cannabis legally through the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation

Penalties for not following these rules:

– $2,000 fine

For penalties regarding driving while high in Nova Scotia, reference this document.


Prince Edward Island

PEI also has a straightforward fact sheet.

What the law says:

Interestingly: "when you are driving, cannabis must be out of reach to the driver. Cannabis can't be used by passengers either." 

What this means for you:

– ensure that cannabis is in a sealed bag
– ensure that cannabis is out of reach of the driver
– unlike in other provinces, it appears passengers may posses cannabis on their person as long as they are not using it

Penalties for not following these rules:

– possible confiscation of cannabis
– possible $200-$400 fine
– possible mandatory drug test

For penalties regarding driving while high in PEI, reference this document.


Newfoundland & Labrador

The Newfoundland & Labrador Act Respecting the Control and Sale of Cannabis makes clear the rules about transporting marijuana in the province. They include some unique provisions.

What the law says:

"A person shall not drive or have the care or control of a vehicle or a boat with cannabis in the vehicle or boat unless:

– "the cannabis is in the package in which it was purchased and the seal is unbroken;
– "the cannabis is not otherwise readily available to a person in the vehicle;"
– the vehicle operator is "[transporting] cannabis from a place or premises where cannabis is lawfully located to another place or premises where cannabis may be lawfully located." 

What this means for you:

– cannabis must be transported in its original package with its seal unbroken (the only explicit regulation of this kind in the country)
– do not cannabis in a bag that has already been opened
– do not let cannabis sit in your car unattended – it must reach a lawful destination
– ensure that the bag is out of reach of both driver and passengers (though not necessarily out of sight)

Penalties for not following these rules:

– fine of $300-$10,000
– possible mandtory drug test
– possible imprisonment for up to 6 months

For penalties regarding driving while high in Newfoundland & Labrador, reference this document.


 

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