Overview of the Cannabis Adult-Use Regulation in Canada

The Cannabis Act came into force on October 17, 2018 and governs the federal legalization and regulation of adult-use cannabis in Canada. However, the provinces and territories have responsibility for several areas of regulation, including retail and distribution within their respective jurisdictions. A brief summary of each provincial and territorial approach is set out below. In addition, municipalities may add another layer of regulation in respect of retail locations and rules or business licence requirements.

Regulation of retail cannabis operations (brick and mortar)

Retail Model

  • Retail Model: While private retail will be permissible in the Territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut), currently only government-operated retail is available in the Yukon and Northwest Territories while only online-sale is available in Nunavut.
  • Online Sales: Only Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nunavut permit privately-operated online sales.
  • Wholesale & Distribution: Government-operated in every province and territory with the exception of Saskatchewan.

Cannabis legislative summary – Canada

For an overview of the applicable provincial legislation and regulatory regimes, click on a province or territory. The overview covers legislation, regulations, retail model (bricks and mortar), online sales, distribution and wholesale, use and consumption (including minimum age, consumption, grow your own).

Division of Roles & Responsibilities

Activity Federal Provincial Municipal
  • Possession limits

  • Trafficking

  • Advertising & packaging

  • Medical cannabis

  • Tracking system (seed-to-sale)

  • Production (cultivation and processing)

  • Distribution and Wholesale

  • Retail model

  • Retail location and rules

  • Regulatory compliance

  • Land use/zoning

  • Taxation

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The above information is current as of May 29, 2019.    ​

The information presented above provides general information only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice. Specific advice should be sought in connection with your circumstances. For more information, please contact our Cannabis expertise group.

Key Contacts

Michael Watts

Michael Watts
mwatts@osler.com
tel: 416.862.6605

Mark Austin

Mark Austin
maustin@osler.com
tel: 416.862.6524

Susan Newell

Susan Newell
snewell@osler.com
tel: 416.862.6797

Marty Putyra

Marty Putyra
mputyra@osler.com
tel: 416.862.4898

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