Not all weed will be legal in Canada by the end of this summer. As the federal government gives provinces the green light to implement local marijuana regulation, this Canadian province lays out harsh penalties for illegal weed sales, impaired driving, selling to the underaged, and where you can smoke. Following legalization, Nova Scotia will be cracking down on weed.
A Brief Overview of Canadian Legalization
Last year, Canadian officials introduced legislation that would legalize marijuana by summer 2018. Though this projection was a little optimistic, it looks like the Canadian Parliament will cast the final vote in early July.
This means that by September, the sale, cultivation and use of recreational marijuana will be legal everywhere. Canadians over 18 years old can have up to 30 grams of cannabis, grow a maximum of four marijuana plants and buy marijuana from licensed stores.
However, national legislation (Bill C-45) does not specify who will have cannabis licenses, where it can be sold, where you can smoke it or how the police will enforce it. The provinces are left to determine these regulations.
Nova Scotia’s Cannabis Control Act
Nova Scotia’s Justice Minister Mark Furey proposed the Cannabis Control Act on Tuesday. If passed, this legislation will have some serious consequences for people who use or sell marijuana.
The Cannabis Control Act includes measures that address driving under the influence, selling marijuana (especially to the underaged) and smoking in rented properties.
Driving Under the Influence
Under this Cannabis Control Act, neither the driver nor passengers can smoke marijuana in a car. The minimum fine for doing so is $1,000 but can go as high as $2,000. The police will suspend the driver’s license for a year for the first offense.
The consequences for the second offense are even more extreme. If caught driving under the influence in Nova Scotia, a second offender is looking at a minimum of thirty days in jail and over a year with a suspended license.
Whether or not to charge someone with driving under the influence is at the police’s discretion. Per the Cannabis Control Act, the Nova Scotia police can test your saliva or blood. They can also suspend someone’s license for weeks at a time.
The only legal way to transport weed in a car will be in a sealed container. These laws will also apply to other motorized vehicles.
Justice Minister Furey told CBC News, “Let me be clear, driving while high is not only dangerous, it is a crime and the legislation provides strong sanctions for those who drive while impaired.”
Only The Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. Can Sell Weed
Not only are the driving regulations intense, but Canadian province lays out harsh penalties for illegal weed sales. As is the case in Quebec, the provincial government will have a monopoly on weed sales. To ensure this remains the case, the Cannabis Control Act has some harsh penalties for those selling weed illegally.
Stores caught selling weed will face fines ranging from a $10,000 minimum to $25,000. Individuals selling weed are fined $10,000. Buying cannabis from an illegal retailer earns a maximum of $250 fine.
Furey justifies that these policies aren’t that different from what’s currently in place. “Dispensaries are illegal presently, dispensaries will be illegal once legislation is rolled out,” he explains.
Fines For Selling Weed to the Underaged
Justice Minister Furey told the press, “Our main priority has been the health and safety of Nova Scotians, especially children and youth.” This seems to be true as the Cannabis Control Act includes some hefty fines for selling weed to people under 19.
Per Nova Scotia law, only people aged 19 and up will be allowed to purchase weed. This is in line with the drinking age in Nova Scotia. The legal age for cannabis and alcohol in Canada ranges from 18 to 19 depending on the province.
The fine for selling to someone under 19 can be up to $10,000. For people under 19, the fine for marijuana possession is $150. Additionally, the police will issue fines to anyone selling drug accoutrements–rolling papers, bongs…–to the underage.
Enforcing These Policies Will Require More Resources
Even Furey admits that the Cannabis Control Act as it is today will require more police work. “We may see a spike in [enforcement],” Furey told CBC News.
Nova Scotia isn’t the only province having to pay for enforcing strict legalization laws. Ontario recently pledged $40 million dollars to fund law enforcement agencies ahead of legalization. Though legalization is supposed to diminish police spending, this hasn’t always been true in practice.
Final Hit: Canadian Province Lays Out Harsh Penalties For Illegal Weed Sales
As this Canadian province lays out harsh penalties for illegal weed sales, driving while high and selling to the underage, everyone is looking to see how Canada implements, and enforces, marijuana legalization.
Some organizations, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), are in favor of Nova Scotia’s new policies. MADD CEO Andrew Murie puts forth, “What we do for alcohol, we should be doing for cannabis. Impairment by drugs by alcohol or a combination is the same.”
Though cannabis and alcohol will be equally legal under Canadian law, cannabis is facing harsher legislation. For instance, the Cannabis Control Act will also permit landlords to ban smoking weed. Public places will also bar marijuana consumption.