New Canadian Cannabis Laws

With the legalization of cannabis coming soon to Canada, drivers should know the laws and the consequences of breaking them.

With the legalization of cannabis on the horizon, drivers should take the time to familiarize themselves with the cannabis laws and legislation on both a federal and provincial level. Much like alcohol, the provinces can set some of their own legislation regarding penalties for drug-impaired driving, and legal age limit for purchase and use of cannabis. If you are driving through multiple provinces make sure you know the rules.

Workplace rules and policies must also incorporate this new legislation into their company culture. That isn’t to say that it is permissible to come to work under the influence, any more than it is to come to work drunk, but when cannabis becomes legal, companies will have to come up with a policy to address potential concerns.

Federal Laws for Cannabis Use When Driving

As per the Federal Government of Canada, new limits of THC in the bloodstream will equate to different levels of penalties. Here is a chart directly from the Government of Canada’s justice website.

Penalties for drug-impaired driving

These new impairment laws came into effect June 28, 2018. However, it is important to note that cannabis as a recreational substance has not been legalized yet. Use of cannabis for anything other than authorized medical or research purposes is still illegal until October 17, 2018.


Cannabis Laws By Province

While the federal government has provided the certain rules as found in the Criminal Code, each province was allowed to determine legal age, where to buy, where to use, legal amount to posses, and additional charges for breaking the law. Here is a break down of each province’s cannabis laws and what you need to know along with the link to each provincial government’s website for more information.

British Columbia:

  • Legal age is 19,
  • Prohibits the use of cannabis in vehicles,
  • Zero tolerance for Graduated Licence Program (GLP),
  • 90-day Administrative Driving Prohibition for anyone driving while affected by drug, or combination of drug and alcohol.



  • Legal age is 18
  • Zero tolerance for Graduated Drivers Licences (GDL)
  • No use in vehicles
  • If transporting cannabis, it must be in a closed container and not within reach of the driver or vehicle occupants
  • Anyone found to be driving impaired (or refusing to provide a fluid sample) can face
    • immediate 90-day licence suspension
    • immediate 3-day vehicle seizure or 7-day for subsequent offenses
    • mandatory remedial education



  • Legal age is 19
  • Zero tolerance for any impaired driving. This means even if you are not charged with impairment under the criminal code, you can still face penalties under Saskatchewan’s The Traffic Safety Act and face these consequences:
    • Driving impaired will result in immediate roadside suspension, and vehicle impoundment, and mandatory enrollment in impaired driving education, and mandatory ignition interlock



  • Legal age is 19
  • 24-hour licence suspension if police believe the driver is under the influence, with potentially greater consequences if the driver holds a graduated licence.
  • No use in vehicles
  • If transporting cannabis, it must be in a secure compartment that is inaccessible to the occupants of the vehicle.



  • Legal age is 19
  • No use in motorized vehicles
  • Zero tolerance for novice and commercial drivers
    • This means if you are under 21
    • Have a G1, G2, M1, or M2 licence
    • Driving a vehicle that requires a CVOR or A-F licence



  • Legal age is 18
  • Only a person authorized by the Société québécoise du cannabis can commercially transport cannabis


Newfoundland and Labrador:

  • Legal age is 19
  • Use is restricted to private residences- no use in vehicles


Nova Scotia:

  • Legal age is 19
  • Cannabis cannot be used in vehicles by either driver or passengers. Up to $2000 fine may be given if caught in violation.
  • Cannabis can only be transported in a closed, sealed container, out of reach of all occupants of the vehicle.
  • Zero tolerance for Graduated Licence holders



  • Legal age is 19
  • When transporting, cannabis must be in either a sealed, unopened container, or if opened- must be inaccessible to all occupants of the vehicle.
  • The province is planning on strengthening roadside suspension for anyone caught driving under the influence.


New Brunswick:

  • Legal age is 19
  • Province is planning on strengthening penalties for anyone caught driving under the influence.
  • Zero tolerance for novice drivers and anyone under the age of 21



  • Legal age is 19
  • If transporting cannabis, it must be in a sealed container and out of reach of all occupants of the vehicle.


North West Territories:

  • Legal age is 19
  • The NWT is proposing a zero tolerance for some types of commercial drivers, learners permits, probationary licenses, and those under the age of 22.
  • The territory is also looking at implementing more penalties for anyone else caught above the federal allowable limits.



  • Legal age is 19
  • Cannot use cannabis in vehicles
  • Strict penalties are being proposed for impaired driving and impairment at the workplace.


Medical Use

It is important to know what the rules are in each province you plan to use cannabis in. Some provinces have different tolerances if you have a prescription.

Drug-Impaired Driving

Both the federal government and the provinces are taking drug-impaired driving very seriously. From officers trained in drug recognition and evaluation to allowing police to request oral fluid samples for drug testing on the spot. Just as drinking and driving isn’t cool, neither is driving high.

Be sure to check these sites frequently if you plan to travel, as some such as Quebec and Nunavut are still finalizing the laws regarding cannabis use. And to avoid penalties in any province, just don’t drive impaired.

Driving in the United States

Cannabis is still listed on the United States drug panel as illegal. Should you be tested and found positive, you will fail. Even if you are coming from Canada and are a Canadian citizen, this does not make you eligible to pass with cannabis in your system. Your best bet is to avoid cannabis use if you are planning to drive commercially in the United States.