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What Canadians need to know about cannabis legalization

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Public education resources

A number of information tools and resources about cannabis are available.

Indigenous communities

We continue to engage with Indigenous governments, organizations and communities to:

  • understand the views of Indigenous peoples on legalizing and regulating cannabis
  • increase awareness of the Cannabis Act

We have compiled a list of cannabis-related resources for use by Indigenous groups to lead public discussions in their communities.

The legalization and regulation of cannabis

On October 17, 2018, the Cannabis Act came into force.

It puts in place, in Canada, a new, strict framework for controlling cannabis:

  • sale
  • possession
  • production
  • distribution

The purpose of the Cannabis Act is to:

  • prevent youth from accessing cannabis
  • displace the illegal cannabis market

Protecting the health and safety of youth is a top priority. The Cannabis Act establishes serious criminal penalties for those who:

  • sell or provide cannabis to youth
  • use youth to commit a cannabis offence

The Cannabis Act also protects public health and safety by:

  • setting rules for adults to access quality-controlled cannabis
  • creating a new, tightly regulated supply chain

Adults who are 18 or 19 years or older (depending on province or territory) are able to:

  • possess up to 30 grams of legal dried cannabis, or its equivalent in non-dried form, in public
  • share up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent with other adults
  • buy cannabis products from a provincial or territorial retailer
  • grow up to 4 plants per residence (not per person) for personal use:
    • from legally acquired seeds or seedlings
    • depending on the province or territory

Possession, production, distribution and sale outside of what the law allows remains illegal and subject to criminal penalties, ranging from:

  • ticketing
  • up to a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment

In addition, the Cannabis Act prohibits:

  • products that are appealing to youth
  • packaging or labelling in a way that makes it appealing to youth
  • selling through self-service displays or vending machines
  • any promotion of cannabis, cannabis accessories, or services related to cannabis, unless authorized under the Cannabis Act

Edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals

On October 17, 2019, the production and sale of edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals became legal in Canada under the Cannabis Act, by:

  • provincial and territorial retailers
  • federally licensed sellers of cannabis for medical purposes

It will take time before the new cannabis products become available for purchase. Adults should only expect a limited selection to appear gradually, in physical or online stores, and no earlier than mid-December 2019. It will take more time before a full range of products becomes available.

These products are subject to strict regulations, to address their unique public health and safety risks.

The Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation recommended that the Government of Canada permit the legal sale of these products once regulatory controls were in place. Giving adults legal access to a broader range of cannabis products will help to achieve the Government’s objectives of:

  • displacing the illegal market
  • keeping profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime

Laws in your area

Each province and territory also has its own rules for cannabis, including:

  • legal minimum age
  • where adults may buy it
  • where adults may use it
  • how much adults may possess

You must respect the laws of the province, territory or Indigenous community you are in, whether you are a visitor or live there.

Municipalities may also pass bylaws to regulate the use of cannabis locally.

Review your provincial and territorial guidelines. Also check your municipality’s website for local information.

Identifying legal cannabis products

Legal cannabis products are only sold through retailers authorized by your provincial or territorial government.

Legal cannabis products (except products with less than 0.3% THC or no THC) have an excise stamp on the package. Each province and territory has a differently coloured excise stamp. The stamp has security features to prevent forgery, just like passports and banknotes.

To give information on risks of use, legal cannabis products also carry the:

Adults are legally able to purchase fresh and dried cannabis, cannabis oils and seeds or plants for cultivation from authorized retailers.

It will take time for the following new cannabis products to be available for purchase:

  • edible cannabis
  • cannabis extracts
  • cannabis topicals

Adults should only expect a limited selection to appear gradually, in physical or online stores, and no earlier than mid-December 2019. It will take more time before a full range of products becomes available.

These products are subject to strict regulations that address their unique public health and safety risks.

Travelling

It’s illegal to take any cannabis across the Canadian border, regardless whether:

  • for medical or non-medical purposes
  • you’re coming into Canada, or leaving

This applies to all countries, whether cannabis is legal there or not.

When you are travelling within Canada, you may possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent, if you meet the minimum age requirement of the province or territory you are in.

It’s your responsibility to learn the laws of the province or territory you are going to, before you travel. If you use cannabis, follow the laws in the jurisdiction where you are.

Consuming cannabis

It became lawful on October 17, 2019 for legal forms of edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals to be produced and sold. It will take time before new products become available. You should only expect a limited selection of new products to appear gradually, in physical or online stores, beginning no earlier than mid-December 2019.

If you have any health issues, or have questions about the effects of cannabis on your health, you should speak to your health care provider.

If you use cannabis, learn how to use it responsibly and to reduce risks for yourself and others:

  • Start with small amounts – 2.5 mg of THC or less for products that you eat or drink or 100 mg/g of THC or less for products that you inhale.
  • Avoid smoking cannabis. The smoke from cannabis contains the same harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke.
  • Avoid frequent use. Daily or near-daily use over months or years increases the risk of dependence and may bring on or worsen disorders related to:
    • anxiety
    • depression
  • Don’t drive or operate heavy equipment after using cannabis. Cannabis can cause drowsiness and impair your ability to concentrate and make quick decisions.
  • If you choose to consume cannabis, delay use to later in life. Teenagers and young adults are at greater risk of harms because the brain continues to develop until around the age of 25.

Growing cannabis

You may not sell the cannabis you grow at home to others.

At home

The Cannabis Act permits adults to cultivate up to 4 cannabis plants per household (not per person). Some provinces and territories have applied added restrictions on personal cultivation.

There are recommended safety and security measures for growing cannabis plants.

Growing for sale

You need to be licensed by Health Canada to be able to grow cannabis for sale.

In some cases, you may also need a licence from the Canada Revenue Agency to sell cannabis. Legal cannabis products must carry an excise stamp, except those products with less than 0.3% THC or no THC.

Access to cannabis for medical purposes

We are committed to keeping a distinct system for giving patients reasonable access to cannabis for medical purposes.

Cannabis for medical purposes will continue to be legal if you are:

  • authorized by a health care provider
  • registered with a licensed seller or with Health Canada

Funding for cannabis public education and research

We fund community-based and Indigenous public education and research initiatives. To apply for funding please see the Substance Use and Addictions Program – Call for Proposals – Guidelines for Applicants.

Drug-impaired driving

Drug-impaired driving is illegal. Do not drive high.

Law enforcement is trained to detect drug-impaired driving.

Learn more about detecting drug-impaired driving under Cannabis impairment.

Cannabis info including education resources, possession, travelling, consuming, growing, access for medical purposes, impaired driving.

Growing Marijuana:

A s you may know, the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana across several states has enabled many consumers to become accustomed to purchasing cannabis from a dispensary. Even more intriguing though is the opportunity that legalization has created for adults and medical patients to cultivate cannabis in their own homes.

While the laws, limitations and regulations are different for each state, almost every state with some form of legalized marijuana does allow home cultivation to some extent. Even though it’s completely legal, some people do not take advantage of their right to grow cannabis due to the perception that it is too difficult, expensive or time-consuming.

Interesed in growing? Click here to purchase your own seeds and start growing today!

Don’t let the lack of ambition from others discourage you though. If done correctly, growing cannabis at home can be fun, simple and cost-effective! We believe everyone should have access to their own clean cannabis. That’s why we decided to bring you a comprehensive guide to growing marijuana, created specifically with beginner growers in mind.

With essential grow knowledge, you’ll learn the benefits and tips of different grow methods, how to maximize plant yields and grow times, the best harvesting, drying, curing methods and much more! Who’s ready to start their cannabis growing journey?

Part 1 – Understanding Marijuana Grow Mediums

Deep Water Culture Hydroponics

Before starting your cannabis grow, you must decide if you want an indoor growing system or an outdoor growing system. When it comes to indoor growing mediums, DWC, or deep water culture, is a type of hydroponic growing method where each plant’s roots are growing in a tub of water.

One of the main benefits of a DWC system is that it promotes faster growth. Unlike growing cannabis in soil, roots grown in DWC don’t need to expend energy to search for what the plant needs; nutrients are easily accessible by the roots.

Plants have an unlimited supply of oxygen because of added oxygen from the air stone in the reservoir. Since the plant is spending less energy finding what it needs to grow, it channels that energy to plant growth. In addition, with proper guidance and a quality set up, DWC takes less time to maintain than an average grow.

When implementing a DWC system, a bubbler bucket reservoir system is recommended.

A bubbler bucket reservoir is a simple system that suspends the plant’s roots in a highly oxygenated nutrient solution. The roots are submerged in the nutrient-water solution in the bucket and are then replenished, as needed.

The most important growing tip is to check on your cannabis plants daily. As with many processes, the easiest way to fix a problem is in the beginning stages! If something is wrong with your plant in a DWC system, your first step in remedying your plant should always be to change out the reservoir. It is common for root rot to occur when roots are consistently in water, therefore, it is imperative to establish a preventative routine of changing out the reservoir every seven days. Adding beneficial bacteria to the reservoir is also effective in avoiding and combating root rot.

When growing from seeds in DWC, use each reservoir port (or net cup) to vegetate, then pick the strongest looking females to continue growing.

Keeping air and water temperatures under control are also very important measures to take. Air temperature should be 75-85°F when the lights are on and will drop by 10 degrees when the lights are off. Water temperature should remain at a constant temperature at all times. Your empty portholes can be used to change out the reservoir water by using a pump, allowing you to easily inspect what’s going on inside.

A common mistake to avoid when growing with DWC is not checking the pH levels of the water. This is important for any grow! Dirty reservoirs or not using an aerator 24/7 are two additional crucial mistakes, as roots must have excessive oxygen so they don’t drown. While some people like to maintain a completely sterile reservoir with just nutrients and water and no traces of anything alive, there are some good sources of beneficial bacteria that can be added. Bad bacteria is obviously, bad, but we wanted to emphasize the possibility of bacteria that can benefit your grow. To avoid potentially harmful bacteria, be proactive about changing the reservoir water.

In addition, having too many plants in one reservoir can lead to problems such as white powdery mildew. Don’t cramp your plants, instead, we recommend growing one plant per reservoir to allow the roots to spread out and give the leaves and buds more space.

Setting up a water transfer pump for this task can speed up the process. For best results, learn how to flush your cannabis plants.

Flushing your plants by removing any nutrients and salts improves the quality and taste of your final product. By simply draining your bubbler bucket reservoir and adding plain (pH neutral) water for two-three days before harvest, the plant will use all its existing nutrients contained in the stems, leaves and buds.

Growing Cannabis with Coco Coir

Coco coir is another great growing method, especially for beginners. It provides the ease of soil gardening with the rapid growth of hydroponics by using fibrous coconut husks instead of a potting mix. Compared to just soil growing, it absorbs moisture much easier, allowing plants to take up more nutrients and retain oxygen more efficiently because of its lighter texture. It also provides a forgiving buffer by reducing shock stress when human errors are made, such as adding too many nutrients, a common mistake.

Coco is much easier to flush than DWC because you aren’t changing an entire water reservoir. In fact, watering coco coir is very versatile. You can use a flood and drain hydroponic system, which is when the nutrient system temporarily floods from beneath the plant, controlled by a pump and timer, instead of dripping from above like most hydroponic systems. You can also use the most recognized top water to waste system, which is simply taking a water pail and watering your plant until water comes out of the bottom of the pot.

When growing cannabis with coco, good quality coco coir makes an immense difference, especially regarding root development. For beginner growers, a three-to-one coco to perlite mixture is recommended as it requires less watering frequency and holds moisture and nutrients better.

For more experienced growers, a one-to-one coco to perlite ratio is recommended as you are able to water more frequently, giving the plant more nutrient uptake and allowing more aggressive root growth.

With coco, water around the outside of the pot in early stages of growth to encourage roots to reach out and fill up the entire container.

Some common mistakes can occur when growing with coco if a grower allows the coco to get too dry, as the mixture dries quickly. Not checking the pH of the nutrient-water solution and not flushing on a consistent basis are also critical errors, as you are using more nutrients with coco and the excess residual nutrients can cause common nutrient deficiency symptoms.

It’s also very important to use Cal-Mag, or Calcium and Magnesium, in your coco growing medium. Calcium plays a direct role in a plant’s root development, nutrient uptake and protein synthesis. Magnesium is an essential part of chlorophyll production, helping your plants with photosynthesis, as well as aiding in the synthesis of sugars and proteins. Together, the correct amount of magnesium and calcium will help keep your cannabis plant healthy.

Outdoor Growing

Outdoor soil growing is a common gardening technique that most people with house plants or vegetable gardens are familiar with. Using techniques such as top-fed watering, deep irrigation or wicks are all viable methods to water your plants. You can either use organic, composted soil, or store-bought soil with added liquid nutrients.

To make organic soil, you need a mixture of biolive, alfalfa meal, oyster shell for calcium, blood meal and bone meal, humic acid to keep the roots clean, and kelp. With store bought soil, use organic nutrients and start adding them about three weeks into the vegetative stage. With synthetic nutrients, you must flush them out regularly. Flood the soil with as much fresh water as it can withstand and leave it for a few minutes to allow the nutrients to be picked up, then flood it again to get the nutrients away from the plant.

Always remember, less is more with non-organic nutrients. If you are adding nutrients, a good rule-of-thumb is to add them about once a week.

A benefit to outdoor soil growing is that if you have a good base-soil built up, it’s not necessary to add nutrients throughout the plant’s life cycle. That means less work for you! It is also likely that the smell and flavor profiles of your buds will increase as well.

A common mistake when growing outdoors is overwatering. Wait to water your plants until the first three inches or so, or about knuckle depth, of soil is dry. You can gauge your soil by pulling the container it is in slightly outwards. Not checking the pH after mixing nutrients, or using nutrients too frequently are also common mistakes that you’ll want to avoid.

Don’t use miracle grow or other similar slow release soils. Your plants will not get the correct amount of nitrogen needed during vegetation and they will receive too much nitrogen during flowering.

Part 2: Learning Cannabis Grow and Plant Maintenance Techniques

Growers have recorded a plethora of marijuana growing techniques over the years to ensure you make the most of your crop. If you want to maximize yield and maximize the amount of light your cannabis plant receives, it is important to practice bending and securing parts of the plant, or removing parts of the plant altogether. While there are many different methods, it is important to note which ones will be the most sustainable for your growing medium.

Bending & Securing Your Cannabis Plants

Screen of Green (ScrOG)

One technique for bending and securing parts of marijuana plants is ScrOG, or Screen of Green. ScrOG is perfect for an indoor grower who is only growing a small number of plants. In places like Colorado, for example, this method is ideal as the legal growing limit is three flowering plants at a time.

ScrOG is designed to optimize the energy from a light by creating an even canopy space where bottom growth of the plant is forced upward to form a flat canopy. By spreading out the canopy and growing the plant horizontally until a few weeks into the flowering stage, more main cola budding sites will take place. The canopy of one plant can be grown as large as a four-foot canopy.

New to growing cannabis? Don’t worry, our beginner’s guide to growing marijuana will help you through the process. From seed to harvest, we have you covered with tips, tricks and step-by-step procedures.