It’s a historic event and a hot topic — recreational pot is legal from coast to coast in Canada.
While the fact of legalization is clear, the rules around it may be less so, since they vary from province to province.
The province of Manitoba has outlined rules relating to legal use, and given control over who, where, how, or if at all, cannabis can be sold, to individual municipalities.
That means while you will be able to buy pot at legal retailers in Winnipeg, you might not be able to do so everywhere.
Winkler voters will decide during this month’s municipal elections whether or not to allow marijuana in retail stores. Gimli stated in December that it would be passing on pot altogether.
As for where you can, and can not consume legal pot, the rules are more or less the same as with cigarettes and alcohol, combined.
If you can not either smoke or drink legally in a specific location or situation, you can not consume pot.
So, for example, you can not drink alcohol in public — on a bus, a sidewalk, at the beach, or in your car — so you can’t consume pot there either.
While you can have alcohol in a restaurant, bar or hotel, you can not smoke cigarettes there, so you can not consume pot.
Five simple rules regarding cannabis:
- You must be 19-years-old or older to buy marijuana
- You can’t smoke or vape cannabis in public
- You can’t grow cannabis at home
- You can carry a maximum of 30 grams of marijuana on you while in public
- Don’t drive while high
In the city of Winnipeg, you are allowed to consume cannabis on your personal property, however, that applies to home owners of single family dwellings. Condos and rented residences, including apartment complexes, may or may not allow cannabis consumption.
Employers, including RCMP, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority have all set out their own rules relating to weed at work. If you are not sure what the rules are where you work, ask.
The province has put together a plan aimed at clearing the air regarding rules — it can be found on their website.
The Winnipeg Police Service and Manitoba RCMP have been enforcing laws around illegal weed for decades and are prepared to keep the peace now that marijuana is legal.
The overarching message is much the same as always — be responsible, inform yourself and obey the rules, ignorance is not an excuse.
“We want to ensure safety is maintained and we are equipped to do that today,” Manitoba RCMP Sgt. Kyle McFadyen said.
“We are going to be out there. Do this responsibly. We’re here to enforce the laws as they are written,” he said.
Cannabis in cars
There has been some haze around exactly how pot can be used in vehicles.
“You can’t have marijuana on the person if you’re in the vehicle. So, if we were to use the comparison of alcohol, cannabis should be stored in the trunk or as far back as possible. Those are the rules as written right now,” McFayden said.
As for concerns over drug-impaired driving, RCMP say legalization doesn’t change much. It is still illegal to drink and drive, and it is illegal to drive high.
“Officers on the front line have been trained all along. Some of the tools we have include the standard field sobriety test and the Drug Recognition Expert program. Those programs both support being impaired by alcohol or drugs. We’re also working to get an oral fluid device to have as another tool to use,” McFadyen said.
You can read more about RCMP impaired driving regulations and protocol here.
There is still marijuana that is considered illegal.
“We’re stressing from the public safety component that if you’re going to purchase cannabis, get it from a licenced retailer so you know the source. With illicit marijuana, you don’t what it has been cut with or laced with,” McFayden said.
“Illicit cannabis is associated to organized crime. It funds a lot of their crime groups. Those continue to be concerns for the RCMP. Always know the source,” McFadyen said.
WATCH: Talking legalization of cannabis with Manitoba RCMP