Cannabis legalization

Cannabis legalization

Learn what will and won’t be legal in Ontario.


Ontario has passed new laws (following extensive public and stakeholder engagement) about how, where and who can buy, possess and consume cannabis in the province. These rules are similar to those in place for alcohol and tobacco, with some differences.

Medical cannabis will continue to be subject to different rules than recreational cannabis.

When cannabis will be legal

The federal government will decide when cannabis will be legal in Canada. We will update this page once we have more information on the timing.

Minimum age will be 19

You will need to be 19 and older to buy, use, possess and grow recreational cannabis. This is the same as the minimum age for the sale of tobacco and alcohol in Ontario.

Where to use it

You will only be able to use recreational cannabis in:

  • a private residence, including the outdoor space of a home (for example, a porch or back yard)
  • your unit or on your balcony, if you live in a multi-unit building like an apartment or condo, but that depends on your building’s rules or your lease agreement

You will not be allowed to use recreational cannabis in:

  • any public place
  • workplaces
  • motorized vehicles

These rules will be in place to protect people from second-hand cannabis smoke, and reduce youth and young adult exposure to cannabis.

Using cannabis in public can result in a fine of up to:

  • $1,000 for a first offence
  • $5,000 for subsequent offences


It is illegal to drive drug-impaired and it’s just as dangerous as driving drunk. Cannabis, like many other drugs, slows your reaction time and increases your chances of being in a collision.

If a police officer finds that you are impaired by any drug, including cannabis, you will face serious penalties, including:

  • an immediate licence suspension
  • financial penalties
  • possible vehicle impoundment
  • possible criminal record
  • possible jail time

Police officers will be authorized to use oral fluid screening devices at roadside. Once a federally approved device is available, we will implement the use of those devices to help police enforce the law.

Learn what counts as impaired driving and the penalties you could face for it.

Zero tolerance for young, novice and commercial drivers

You will not be allowed to have any cannabis in your system (as detected by a federally approved oral fluid screening device) if you are driving a motor vehicle and:

  • you are 21 or under
  • have a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence
  • the vehicle you are driving requires an A-F driver’s licence or Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR)
  • you are driving a road-building machine

Learn more about zero tolerance for young, novice and commercial drivers.

Where to buy recreational cannabis

When it’s legal, people 19 and over will be able to purchase cannabis in-person or online through the Ontario Cannabis Store. Online orders will be delivered safely and securely.

You will be able to purchase up to 30 grams (about one ounce) of dried recreational cannabis for personal use at one time.

The Ontario Cannabis Store will be the only store that can legally sell recreational cannabis and will follow strict rules set by the federal government.

How much cannabis you will be able to possess

You will be able to have a maximum of 30 grams (about one ounce) of dried cannabis in public at any time.

Growing cannabis

You will be able to grow up to four plants per residence (not per person). You will be able to purchase legal seeds and seedlings from the Ontario Cannabis Store.

Rules for the workplace

We already have strict rules in place to make sure workplaces are safe.

Consuming recreational cannabis in the workplace is illegal, and will continue to be after legalization.

Employers (and supervisors):

  • need to know the rules for medical cannabis
  • will be required to address workplace hazards, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)

Employees and workers:

  • who are unable or unfit to work safely could be a hazard to themselves or to others in the workplace
  • have a duty to perform work safely and to report any hazards to their supervisor or employer under the OHSA

See additional rules related to cannabis use in the workplace, including for commercial driving, where you can use recreational cannabis and using medical cannabis in the workplace.

Medical cannabis

Medical cannabis is subject to different rules than recreational cannabis. The production and sale of medical cannabis is regulated exclusively by the federal government.

If a health care professional has already authorized you to use cannabis for medical reasons, your access will not change when recreational cannabis is legal.

The only way to purchase medical cannabis is from:

  • a federally licensed producer online
  • by written order
  • over the phone and delivered by secure mail

You can also receive a licence from Health Canada to grow medical cannabis on you own, or designate someone else to grow it on your behalf.

Learn more about accessing cannabis for medical purposes.

What you said

We consulted extensively to inform our approach to the legalization of cannabis. The province engaged with:

  • other jurisdictions that already legalized cannabis
  • public health experts
  • law enforcement
  • Indigenous communities and organizations
  • municipalities

In addition, we held a survey so Ontarians could share their views on legalization.

Some key results from the survey that informed our plan included:

  • 86% of people said they support a minimum age of 19
  • 74% believe there should be restrictions on where cannabis can be consumed
  • 61% of respondents agreed that drug-impaired driving penalties should be stricter
  • 69% believe that keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth is important


For parents

For youth and young people

For educators

For health professionals

For the workplace

Legalization milestones

Updated: May 9, 2018

Published: September 8, 2017


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