The legislation on cannabis

Regulating cannabis in Québec

The information contained on this site does not replace the text of the law, which has an official status. In addition, it is not exhaustive.

Clarification regarding medical cannabis
With the exception of Chapter IV of the Cannabis Regulation Act, concerning the restrictive use of cannabis, only the federal regulations apply to medical cannabis.

Notice concerning the Act
The Act to tighten the regulation of cannabis passed on November 1st, 2019. That Act amends the Cannabis Regulation Act. The proposed amendments and additions concern mainly:

The use of cannabis in public places
It is now forbidden to smoke or vape cannabis in any public place, whether indoor or outdoor.

Raising the legal age
The minimum legal age to possess or purchase cannabis and to be admitted to the premises of the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) is now raised to 21 years of age.


In June 2018, the Government of Canada adopted the Cannabis Act (S.C. 2018, Chapter 16). This Act seeks to decriminalize certain cannabis-related activities, particularly in matters of possession, production, distribution, sale, importing and exporting, since October 17, 2018.

In general, the objectives of the Act are:

  • to prevent young persons from accessing cannabis;
  • to protect public health and public safety by establishing strict product safety and product quality requirements;
  • to deter criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those operating outside the legal framework ;
  • to reduce the burden on the criminal justice system in relation to cannabis.

Québec’s approach

Cannabis involves significant risks for public health and safety, therefore the Gouvernement du Québec must stringently regulate the substance.

The regulation aims mainly to reduce the risks and harm to the health and safety of individuals. Emphasis is placed specifically on the following:

  • protecting the health and safety of persons, in particular those of the most vulnerable groups, including young persons;
  • preventing the initiation to cannabis use, particularly of teenagers, young adults and vulnerable groups of the population;
  • promoting the integration of consumers into the legal market from the perspective that the regulated sale of quality-controlled products will reduce health risks; and
  • ensuring road safety.

In order to establish this regulation, the Gouvernement du Québec consulted with experts, citizens and organizations in the summer of 2017. The Act to constitute the Société québécoise du cannabis, to enact the Cannabis Regulation Act and to amend various highway safety-related provisions was adopted on June 12, 2018. The measures in force particularly concern possession, use, cultivation for personal use, production, transportation and storage, promotion and advertising, sale, and characteristics of cannabis products.

The legislative framework provides for various regulatory powers to allow rapid adaptation based on the advancement of knowledge and the occurrence of unexpected problem situations.

Regulations and amendments to the Act

A few regulations have been adopted to date, particularly the Regulation to determine other classes of cannabis that may be sold by the Société québécoise du cannabis and certain standards respecting the composition and characteristic of cannabis (in French only).

The Act to tighten the regulation of cannabis passed on November 1, 2019. This act amends the Cannabis Regulation Act, particularly by tightening the restrictions on use and raising the legal age of possession and purchase of cannabis to 21 years.

Last update: March 11, 2020 1:09 PM