Cannabis Policy and Legislation

On October 17, 2018, the Government of Canada legalized recreational cannabis use for adults. The Government of Canada continues to regulate access to cannabis for medical purposes.

The main laws and regulations that govern recreational and medically-authorized cannabis use are:

PEI Cannabis Legislation and Regulation

The following subject-areas are covered by provincial policy, legislation and regulations:

Legal Age for use is 19

The minimum age to purchase, possess and use recreational cannabis is 19 years of age. Under 19 years of age users

Adult Possession Limit

It is legal for a person over 19 years of age to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis (or its equivalent) on them, when in public.

Youth Possession and Use

The Cannabis Control Act prohibits youth under 19 from possessing, consuming, or growing  cannabis.   The Act prohibits an adult from sharing or provide cannabis to a person under 19. The Act also prohibits an adult from allowing a person under 19 in their care from using cannabis.  The Act allows police to seize  and destroy cannabis small amounts from young people who are found to be breaking the laws. Police can fine  or refer a young person to a program when found to be violating the Act.

Consuming Cannabis

Cannabis use is restricted to private residences. A private residence can include such places as a house, an apartment, a hotel room, a campsite. In the case of multi-unit dwellings, a property owner may prohibit cannabis use on their property, but may designate an outdoor space for smoking.

Impaired Driving

In addition to Criminal Code of Canada offences, the Highway Traffic Act already has the same immediate roadside and post Criminal Code conviction penalties for drug impaired driving, as alcohol. The Highway Traffic Act has been amended to better align with recent change in the Criminal Code. There is a zero tolerance for young and novice drivers. Law enforcement can detect signs of drug impairment at the roadside using the Standard Field Sobriety Test. If there is evidence of impairment,law enforcement can gather additional evidence through an assessment carried out by a drug recognition expert. In some cases, this authorized official can take a blood sample to determine if a criminal offence may have been committed. If a person is convicted, additional penalties can be given under the Highway Traffic Act.

Growing Cannabis

Under the Cannabis Act, a household is permitted to have four (4) cannabis plants. The act also indicates that the space where cannabis is grown indoors must not be accessible to (1) any person who has not been directly or indirectly invited to be in the home (e.g. someone who is trespassing) and (2) any person under the age of 19.

Cannabis grown outdoors cannot be visible from public spaces. Cannabis plants must be in an enclosure at least 1.52 m high that is kept locked.

Purchasing Cannabis Products

In PEI, there are four dedicated government-owned retail locations for cannabis sales, as well as an e-commerce platform with direct-to-home delivery. A range of product types and active ingredient concentrations are available for sale. Retail sites are located in Charlottetown, Summerside, Montague and a fourth location in O'Leary, expected to open in late fall 2018.

Smoking Cannabis

The definition of ‘smoke’ under the PEI Smoke-Free Places Act has been amended to include any ignited substance intended to be smoked or vaped, including cannabis. Rules around recreational cannabis consumption are outlined in the Cannabis Control Act. Medically authorized cannabis users must follow the rules under Smoke-Free Place Act.

Education and Awareness Activities

PEI is committed to a long-term financial investment in harm reduction, education and awareness, research and surveillance.

A multi-departmental Cannabis Harm Prevention Committee has been established, led by the Chief Public Health Office. This committee is responsible for developing and directing a interdepartmental approach to preventing cannabis-related health and social harms in PEI. The committee’s scope includes education and public awareness (including the Just the Facts campaign), policies and programs, surveillance and monitoring (including the PEI Cannabis Survey) and applied research.

Cannabis Production, Processing and Business

The production and processing of cannabis products is regulated through federal licensing under the Cannabis Act. The province and municipalities may set rules and standards around land use, business licensing, and additional public safety and security measures. 

What laws protect against drug-impaired driving?

Local police will continue to use federal impaired driving provisions to combat drug impaired driving. Additionally, the Highway Traffic Act has the same rules as alcohol impaired driving to suspend a driver’s license. Police can detect the signs of drug impairment using a variety of  tools.

What laws are in place for retail sales?

Provincial legislation restricts retail sales to the PEI Cannabis Management Corporation through the PEI Cannabis stores and online store. If you are buying recreational cannabis from another source, you are buying it illegally. Medically authorized cannabis users can continue to buy from the licensed producer that they are registered with, or may continue to grow their own.

Where can I purchase cannabis in PEI?

Islanders can purchase cannabis at a PEI Cannabis retail store or online at peicannabiscorp.com.

What additional regulations are planned for cannabis?

PEI will consider legislative and regulatory measures to prepare for the introduction of edibles and concentrate regulations, which will be made by the Government of Canada in 2019. PEI will also continue to evaluate implementation of the legislation and regulations to determine if adjustments are required.

What are the jurisdictional responsibilities for legalization of cannabis?

The following table outlines divisions of laws and responsibility with the legalization of recreational cannabis. Municipalities  have shared authority in some of the areas outlined below:

Activity
Federal responsibility?
Provincial responsibility?
Adult possession limits**
Yes
No
Youth possession limits Yes Yes
Unauthorized distribution
Yes
No
Advertisement and packaging**
Yes
No
Impaired driving
Yes
Yes
Medical cannabis
Yes
No
Seed-to-sale tracking system
Yes
No
Production (cultivation and processing) **
Yes
No
Age limit (federal minimum)**
Yes
No
Public health and safety
Yes
Yes
Education
Yes
Yes
Taxation
Yes
Yes
Home cultivation (growing plants at home)**
Yes
Yes
Distribution and wholesaling
No
Yes
Retail model
No
Yes
Retail locations and rules No Yes
Regulatory compliance Yes Yes
Public consumption No Yes
Land use and/or zoning No Yes
** Provinces have the ability to strengthen legislation for these areas under federal jurisdiction

Background on cannabis policy development in PEI

To help develop a responsible approach to regulate cannabis, the provincial government:

  • worked with our partners across the province, including public health experts, law enforcement, community agencies and businesses
  • heard from municipalities and other jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis
  • engaged the public through an online survey to get input and feedback

Contact:

Provincial Cannabis Committee
Email: cannabis@gov.pe.ca

Published date: 
November 13, 2018
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