Cannabis

Cannabis became legal for use by adults on October 17, 2018. However, the Toronto Police Service would like to underline that there are restrictions to keep in mind before using cannabis.

You must be 19 and older to buy, use, possess and grow recreational cannabis in Ontario.

You may:

  • possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis
  • share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adults
  • grow up to four cannabis plants per residence for personal use
  • make cannabis products, such as food and drinks, at home as long as organic solvents are not used to create concentrated products

Selling and Consuming Outside of Legal Framework

There are still offences related to the sale and consumption of cannabis with penalties ranging from warnings and tickets for minor offences to criminal prosecution and imprisonment for more serious offences. Some offences specifically target people who make cannabis available to youth.

The Toronto Police Service has enforced the sale of cannabis by non-authorized retailers and will continue to do so.


Impaired Driving

Driving impaired by cannabis is illegal and dangerous. Cannabis, like many other drugs, slows your reaction time and increases your chances of being in a collision.

The Toronto Police Service has been increasing the number of trained Drug Recognition Evaluators (DREs).

The DREs use clinical and physical tests used to determine if the subject is impaired by a drug. If the officer believes there is impairment, a demand is made for a biological sample to be obtained (i.e., blood, urine or oral fluid).

The DRE test is systematic and logically proceeds from an assessment of signs of impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to alcohol, and may be corroborated by toxicological analysis for the presence of drugs. The drug recognition process is standardized; all evaluating officers utilize the same testing procedure on all persons suspected of being impaired by drugs.

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

Bill C-46 came into force on June 21, 2018 and is described as “a modern, simplified, and more coherent system of reforms to better deter and detect drug and alcohol-impaired driving.”


Part 1 of Bill C-46

Part 1 of the new impaired driving legislation, which introduces new offences for drug-impaired driving, came into force on June 21, 2018.

Prohibited drug concentrations

The legislation creates three new offences for having a prohibited concentration of drugs in the blood within two hours of driving.

  • Summary Conviction: 2 nanograms (ng) of THC but less than 5 ng of THC per millilitre (ml) of blood
  • Hybrid Offence I: for 5 ng THC or more of THC per ml of blood
  • Hybrid offence II: Combination of 50 milligrams (mg) of alcohol per 100 ml blood + 2.5 ng or more of THC per 1 ml of blood

Overview of Drug-Impaired Investigation

The Criminal Code gives authority to police officers to arrest for impaired operation (by alcohol or drug) or to conduct Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) to establish grounds to arrest.

The Toronto Police Service has been increasing the number of trained Standard Field Sobriety Test Officers (SFSTs) and Drug Recognition Evaluators (DREs).

When a frontline officer suspects that an individual is operating a motor vehicle and may be impaired by a drug, alcohol, or a combination of both, they initiate a request for a Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) Officer.

An SFST evaluation is conducted at the roadside by an SFST officer, certified by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). If the operator performs poorly on the SFST evaluation, the SFST officer forms the grounds that the operator’s ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired by a drug, alcohol, or a combination of both, the operator is placed under arrest for Impaired Driving. The operator is then taken before a Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE).

The SFST evaluation is similar to the Approved Screening Device as the SFST evaluation allows officers to move from suspicion to reasonable grounds to believe impairment. If the operator performs adequately on the SFST evaluation, the operator is released.

Source: https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2008-196/page-1.html


Highway Traffic Act


What counts as impaired driving?

Impaired driving means operating a vehicle (including cars, trucks, boats, snowmobiles and off-road vehicles) while your ability to do so has been compromised to any degree by consuming alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two.


Fully Licensed Drivers

Throughout Canada, the maximum legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for fully licensed drivers is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, or 0.08. Driving with BAC over 0.08 is a criminal offence and the penalties are severe.

In Ontario, you will also face serious consequences if your BAC is between 0.05 and 0.08. This is commonly referred to as the “warn range.”

If police determine that you are driving while impaired by any drug, including illegal drugs, cannabis, prescription and over-the-counter medications, you will face severe consequences and criminal charges.


Zero tolerance for young, novice and commercial drivers


Young and Novice Drivers

Drivers age 21 or under and novice drivers of any age (with G1, G2, M1, or M2 licenses) must not have any presence of alcohol in their blood when behind the wheel. This is commonly referred to as the “zero BAC” or “zero tolerance” rule.

As of July 1, 2018, young and novice drivers are prohibited from having any presence of cannabis in their system as well as other drugs that can be detected by an oral fluid screening device. That means that Ontario has a zero tolerance approach to both alcohol and drugs for all young and novice drivers.

If police determine that you have the presence of cannabis or alcohol in your system and/or that you are impaired by any substance including illegal drugs, prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications, you will face severe consequences and potential criminal charges.

Commercial Drivers

As of July 1, 2018 drivers of vehicles requiring an A-F class licence, vehicles requiring a Commercial Vehicle Operator's Registration (CVOR) and road building machines are prohibited from having any presence of alcohol in their blood when behind the wheel of these types of vehicles. These drivers are also prohibited from having any presence of cannabis in their system as well as other drugs that can be detected by an oral fluid screening device.

If police determine that you have the presence of cannabis or alcohol in your system and/or that you are impaired by any substance including illegal drugs, prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications, you will face severe consequences and potential criminal charges.

Medical Cannabis Users

If a police officer is satisfied that you are legally authorized to use cannabis for medical purposes, you will not be subject to Ontario’s zero tolerance drug requirements for young, novice and commercial drivers. However, you can still face penalties and criminal charges if a police officer determines that your ability to drive has been impaired. Even if you have been authorized to use cannabis or another drug by a health care professional, it is your responsibility to ensure you are not impaired while driving.

Read more about Cannabis Legalization in Ontario, including:

  • Where you can and cannot use it
  • Where cannabis can legally purchased
  • Rules for the workplace
  • Medical cannabis