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Legal pot FAQ: Your burning questions answered

Last Updated Oct 15, 2018 at 2:40 pm EDT

A man smokes marijuana. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Eduardo Verdugo

Oct. 17 is officially the day recreational marijuana becomes legal in Canada.

With legalization come new rules governing everything ranging from where you can use pot to how it will be marketed and distributed.

In the run up to decriminalization day, CityNews asked viewers and readers to send in their concerns about navigating the changes. We then reached out to experts in the field to weigh in.

Pam Kaufman, assistant professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto and Brad Poulos, lecturer at Ryerson University answer your burning questions.

NOTE: The questions and answers below have been edited and condensed for clarity. 


Q: Who controls the restrictions on advertising legal pot and will they be similar to those on tobacco products?

Poulos: The federal government determines all the rules on advertising and other forms of promotional items.


Q: Will pot have similar restrictions as those imposed on tobacco products, like warning labels and health advisories?

Poulos: Similar but still different to satisfy the differing needs of the products and industries. There will be warning labels similar to tobacco, and severe restrictions on packaging, limiting the ability of the producers to build their brands.

Kaufman: It is likely that products will be sold in plain packages with warning labels.

Q: Can pot advertising be geared towards youth and children by using, for example, a cartoon character?

Poulos: No. Anything appealing to youth, or implying that use of cannabis is cool or glamourous, or that it brings excitement, vitality, or daring will be allowed. Neither are the use of cartoon characters, celebrity endorsements, or a person, character or animal (real or fictional).

Kaufman: The proposed federal Cannabis Act does not allow the promotion of cannabis (or a cannabis accessory or service). This would include advertising that appeals to young persons, such as the use of a cartoon character.


Q: Will the rules governing pot use in public spaces be similar to those governing smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol?

A: Under previous consumption rules, those over 19 would have only been able to smoke cannabis in a private Ontario residence when pot becomes legal Oct. 17. However, the Ontario PC government announced in September that residents will be able to smoke recreational cannabis wherever the smoking of tobacco is permitted. Smoking pot in vehicles or boats that are being operated will be prohibited. Breaking the rules would see people subjected to fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 upon conviction.

Q: Will smoking pot in public result in a ticket or fines if caught?

A: As the new PC government relaxed the rules on public consumption of cannabis, smoking pot in public will not be a ticketable offence.

Q: Is it true that those living in apartments or condos cannot grow or smoke pot?

Poulos: According to the Ontario regulations, as they currently stand, that is true. For medical cannabis, one can get an exemption from such rules.

Kaufman: You will be able to grow up to four cannabis plants per residence (not per person). However, if you live in a multi-unit building like an apartment or condo, whether you can grow cannabis or smoke it on the premises depends on your building’s rules or lease agreement.

Q: Can a landlord refuse to rent to a tenant if they want to grow pot on the premises?

Poulos: Yes, and they can insert clauses in the lease preventing using or growing cannabis in the premises.

Kaufman: Landlords can set their own rules about whether this is allowed in their building.

Visit this page often as we continue to update this list and have your questions answered.

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This article has been updated to include information about rules that have changed since it was first published. A previous version of this article stated that Ontario residents will not be allowed to smoke cannabis in public places and fines will be charged if caught.