The legislation on cannabis

The Cannabis Regulation Act

Warning
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), among other things, is now raised to 21 years of age.

The Cannabis Regulation Act establishes the legal measures that will help to accomplish the goals of public health and safety. The main measures concern the following:

Possession

  • It is prohibited for a person under 21 years of age to possess or give cannabis.
  • The government may, by regulation, determine standards applicable to the possession of cannabis in a public place by a person 21 years of age or over, particularly to reduce the amount of cannabis that a person may possess in such a place. Since the government of Québec has not made a regulation to that effect, it is possible to possess 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent in a public place, as prescribed by the federal Act.
  • The amount of dried cannabis or its equivalent that one may possess in a place other than a public place is set at 150 grams. In a private residence, the possession limit of 150 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent applies, regardless of the number of persons 21 years of age or over who live there. Moreover, a person 21 years of age or over may not possess a total of more than 150 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent in one or more places other than a public place, notably in all of his or her residences.
  • It is prohibited for any person to possess cannabis in certain places, particularly certain places accessible mainly to minors. Rules are set for the safe storage of cannabis. Therefore,
    • it is prohibited to possess cannabis:
      • on the grounds, premises or in buildings providing preschool education services, elementary and secondary school instructional services, educational services in vocational training or educational services to adults in general education, of a college-level educational institution;
      • on the premises or in the buildings of a university-level educational institution, except student residences;
      • on the grounds and in the facilities of a childcare centre or day care centre, as well as on the grounds, on premises or in buildings used for detention.
    • It will be required to store cannabis in a safe manner, in a place not easily accessible to minors;
    • In the case of an intermediate resource or of a family-type resource located in a private residence, as well as childcare services, whether the child care providers are recognized or not, cannabis must be kept under lock.

Cultivation for personal use

It is totally prohibited to cultivate cannabis for personal use. Note that it is also prohibited to possess a cannabis plant.

Restricted use

  • It should be noted that the restrictions on the use of cannabis provided for in the Cannabis Regulation Act also apply to medical cannabis.
  • Prohibition against smoking or vaping cannabis in all indoor or outdoor spaces that are open to the public, including public roads.

Specifications regarding restrictions on use

  • It is prohibited to smoke cannabis on grounds where certain types of enclosed spaces are located, except for the grounds of residential buildings comprising two or more dwellings or private seniors’ residences.
  • A closed smoking room may be set up in places considered as living environments (estabishments, seniors’ residences, etc.). The smoking rooms may be used only by the residents and construction rules will apply. However, if there is a smoking room already set up to smoke tobacco, that room must also be used for cannabis use.
  • When operating a research centre, a cannabis producer, a health establishment, a college-level or university-level institution or a legal person mandated by the State that is participating in research activities on health may set up a room in the centre where it is permitted to smoke or to vape for research purposes, under certain conditions.
  • It is possible to identify rooms where it is permitted to smoke or to vape cannabis in places considered as living environments (establishments, seniors’ residences, etc.). Only the persons admitted or lodged in such places may smoke in these rooms. The number of rooms identified cannot exceed 20% of the rooms available for the whole of the clientele. The proportion must also take into account the rooms where it is permitted to smoke or to vape tobacco. Moreover, if there are rooms already identified for the use of tobacco, they must be identified first for the use of cannabis.
  • It should be noted that a person who must, while working or providing services, take care of, or otherwise provide care to, a minor, a senior or any person in a vulnerable situation, may not use cannabis of any kind, during the hours the person works or provides services.
  • A local municipality may, by regulation and under certain conditions, permit the smoking of cannabis in a municipal park, except in those areas of the park where it is already prohibited to smoke or vape tobacco.

Regarding workplaces

  • The Act specifies that an employer may, pursuant to his or her managerial prerogative, regulate the use of cannabis, or even prohibit it entirely.
  • Clarifications were made to the Act respecting occupational health and safety to specify the responsibilities of employers and workers with respect to performing work when the worker’s condition represents a risk to his health, safety or physical well-being, or that of other persons at or near the workplace, by reason, in particular, of his or her being impaired by alcohol, drugs, including cannabis, or any similar substance. The employer must see to it that a worker does not perform this work if such is his or her condition. Moreover, the Act stipulates that on a construction site, the condition of the worker impaired by alcohol, drugs, including cannabis, or a similar substance represents a risk.

Commercial production of cannabis

  • Only a cannabis producer who has the qualifications and meets the conditions determined by government regulation may produce cannabis in Québec.
    • The government may determine the standards applicable to cannabis production, which may in particular relate to the preparation, conditioning or preservation of cannabis, and the substances and methods used.
    • The Government of Québec may introduce further regulations for producers and production of cannabis for non-medical use in Québec in addition to those provided by the federal government.
  • The authorized Québec producers may only sell their cannabis in Québec to the SQDC or to another producer, unless they ship it outside Québec. The government could, by regulation, determine the conditions that apply to the sale of cannabis between producers and the standards to be complied with.

Note: cannabis processing is considered production.

Transportation and storage of cannabis

  • Only the Société québécoise du cannabis, a person it authorizes, a cannabis producer or any other person determined by government regulation may transport, including delivery, and store cannabis for commercial purposes.
  • The Government may, by regulation, prescribe the standards and conditions applicable to the transportation and storage of cannabis.
  • The Act does not forbid the transportation of cannabis in transit in Québec. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the transportation of cannabis without a bill of lading indicating the names and addresses of the shipper and the receiver constitutes proof that it is intended for delivery in Québec.

Sale of cannabis

  • Only the SQDC can sell cannabis retail in Québec.
  • General rules in matters of the sale of cannabis in Québec (non-exhaustive list):
    • a person under 21 years of age may not be admitted into a cannabis retail outlet;
    • it is prohibited for a person under 21 years of age to purchase cannabis and prohibited to sell cannabis to a person under 21 years of age or to a person who purchases it for a person under 21 years of age;
    • cannabis must be displayed in such a way that customers may not have access to it without the assistance of an employee and that it is visible only from the inside of the cannabis retail outlet;
    • cannabis sold at the SQDC can not be altered there in any way and can not be treated to change its properties;
    • cannabis sales employees must have successfully completed the training determined by regulation of the Minister of Health and Social Services;
    • it is not permitted to sell more than the equivalent of 30 grams of dried cannabis to a purchaser in the course of a same visit;
    • the public health information prescribed by regulation of the Minister of Health and Social Services must be communicated by the sales employee to the purchaser at the time of any purchase;
    • cannabis may not be sold to a person whose behaviour is clearly altered by drugs or alcohol, nor to a person purchasing cannabis for another person whose behaviour is clearly altered in such a manner.
  • Only the following types of cannabis may be sold:
    • dried cannabis;
    • cannabis oil;
    • fresh cannabis;
    • cannabis resin (hashish);
    • edible cannabis products;
    • cannabis extracts.
  • No other product, whether approved or not by the federal government, may be sold in Québec without the Québec government making a regulation authorizing its sale.
  • A cannabis retail outlet of the SQDC may not be operated near schools (preschool, elementary and secondary, as well as general adult education centres, vocational training centres and colleges). It is considered to be near an educational institution if, from the boundaries of the grounds on which the institution is situated, the shortest route to the retail outlet by a public road is less than 250 metres or, in the territory of Ville de Montréal, less than 150 metres.

Regarding the characteristics of the products

  • Cannabis sold in Québec can not contain any additives or any other substances intended to modify its odour, taste or colour.
  • The government may, by regulation, determine other standards relating to the composition and characteristics or other properties of cannabis, including the standards related to the level or concentration of THC.

Cannabis accessories

  • The retail outlets of the SQDC can sell accessories, specialized publications on cannabis or any other product determined by government regulation.
  • Businesses selling cannabis accessories must comply with the rules applicable to tobacco accessories provided in the Tobacco Control Act on retail sale, including those on display and signage. All the provisions regarding the promotion, advertising and packaging of cannabis in the Cannabis Regulation Act apply to accessories.

Promotion, advertising and packaging

  • General rules of promotion:
    • It is prohibited:
      • to supply cannabis or to furnish cannabis for promotional purposes, particularly in the context of a sampling setting;
      • to offer consumers a gift or rebate or a right to participate in a lottery, contest or game or any other form of benefit, if consumers must, in return, provide information on cannabis or their consumption or purchase or present proof of purchase of a cannabis product;
      • to give consumers a rebate on the market price or to reduce the retail price on the basis of the quantity purchased;
      • to associate any direct or indirect sponsorship with the promotion of cannabis, a brand of cannabis, the SQDC or a cannabis producer;
      • to associate a name, logo, distinguishing guise, design, image or slogan that is associated with cannabis, a brand of cannabis, the SQDC or a cannabis producer with a sports, cultural or research facility maintained by a health or social services institution.
  • General advertising rules:
    • No direct or indirect advertising to promote cannabis, a brand of cannabis, a cannabis producer or the SQDC, particularly if it is directed at minors, is false or misleading or is likely to create a false impression about the characteristics of cannabis or its effects on health, directly or indirectly associates the use of cannabis or of an accessory to a particular life style, etc.
    • Advertising can not be disseminated otherwise than:
      • in printed newspapers and magazines that are sent and addressed to a person 21 years of age or over identified by name;
      • by signage that may be seen only from the inside of a cannabis retail outlet.
    • Advertising disseminated by signage may be visible only from the inside of an SQDC outlet (or, in the case of accessories, of a business that sells accessories).
    • Factual information about cannabis, including about the price or the intrinsic characteristics of cannabis, on brands of cannabis and on the SQDC can be communicated to consumers to the extent that it does not constitute prohibited advertising or a prohibited form of advertising. In addition, the SQDC may give consumers factual information on its website about the sale of cannabis to the extent that it take the necessary measures to ensure that it is not accessible by minors.

Note: No name, logo, distinguishing guise, design, image or slogan that is not directly associated with cannabis, a brand of cannabis, the SQDC or a cannabis producer may be used on a facility, vehicle, poster or an object that is not cannabis but that could imply an indirect link. In Québec, it is not permitted, for example, to sell T-shirts with the printed picture of a cannabis leaf.

  • General rules regarding packaging:
    • The packaging can not be used for promotional or advertising purposes: only the brands and elements of an informative nature can be shown.
  • The government may, by regulation, determine standards relating to promotion and advertising, and relating to cannabis containers, packaging and display.

Other provisions

  • Establishment of the Cannabis Prevention and Research Fund at the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux.
    • The revenues of the Fund will be used to finance:
      • monitoring and research activities and programs relating to the effects of cannabis on the health status of the population;
      • curative care in relation to cannabis use;
      • cannabis harm prevention activities and programs and health promotion activities and programs.
    • Certain provisions of the Cannabis Regulation Act specify and guarantee that for the first five years following the coming into force of the Act, the Cannabis Prevention and Research Fund will have revenues of $25 M.
  • The government may authorize the implementation of a pilot project on any matter within the scope of this Act or its regulations, except regarding the retail sale of cannabis, including online sales.
  • Establishment of an oversight committee on cannabis responsible for advising and making recommendations deemed necessary regarding cannabis and the application of the Act to the Minister of Health and Social Services. Committee members must have no links with the cannabis industry and be free of any conflict of interest;
  • The Minister of Health and Social Services must report to the government on the implementation of the Act, no later than three years after the coming into force of its provisions, and every five years after that;
  • Powers of inspection, seizure and investigation to verify compliance with the Act may be attributed to various intervenors, including inspectors from the Ministère and members of a police force.

Offences and fines prescribed in the Cannabis Regulation Act


Section

Offence
Fine in effect
(R: Repeat offence)

4

Person under 21 years of age: possession or giving of cannabis

$100

5

Possession of a cannabis plant

$250 to $750

R: $500 to $1,500

6

Person 21 years of age or over: non-compliance with the regulatory standards applicable to the possession of cannabis in a public place

$750 Max

R: $1,500 Max

7

Person 21 years of age or over: possession of more than 150 grams of dried cannabis in a place other than a public place, or 

Possession of cannabis knowing that it results in a total amount of more than 150 grams of dried cannabis in a residence, regardless of the number of persons 21 years of age or over who live in the residence.

$250 to $750

R: $500 to $1,500

8

Possession of cannabis in any place prohibited by the Act, or

Possession of cannabis in places prohibited by a government regulation

$250 to $750

R: $500 to $1,500

9

Keeping cannabis in an unsafe place easily accessible by persons under 21 years of age, or

Keeping cannabis in an unlocked place in a private residence where home childcare services or services of an intermediary resource or of a family-type resource are provided

$250 to $750

R: $500 to $1,500

10

Cultivating cannabis for personal use

$250 to $750

R: $500 to $1,500

12

Smoking cannabis in any enclosed space prohibited by the Act

$500 to $1,500

R: $1,000 to $3,000

12

Smoking in enclosed spaces where it is prohibited to have cannabis in your possession, or

Smoking in any place where a government regulation prohibits the possession of cannabis

$750 to $2,250

R: $1,500 to $4,500

13

Contravening the conditions and provisions relating to a closed smoking room where smoking cannabis is permitted

$1,000 to $50,000

R: $2,000 to $100,000

14

Contravening the conditions relating to the identification of rooms where smoking cannabis is permitted in the following enclosed spaces

1° facilities maintained by a health or social services institution and premises where the services of an intermediary resource are offered;

2° palliative care hospices and temporary lodging facilities where prevention, assistance and support services are offered to persons in distress or in need of assistance.

$1,000 to $50,000

R: $2,000 to $100,000

15

Contravening the conditions and provisions relating to a room where smoking cannabis for research purposes is permitted

$1,000 to $50,000

R: $2,000 to $100,000

16

Smoking in any other place prohibited by the Act, or

Smoking in any other place prohibited by a government regulation

$500 to $1,500

R: $1,000 to $3,000

16

Smoking on the grounds of a enclosed space referred to in the first paragraph of section 8, or

Smoking in any place identified by the government where it is prohibited to be in possession of cannabis

$750 to $2,250

R: $1,500 to $4,500

17

Operator of a place:

  • Not indicating, by signs, the places where it is prohibited to smoke
  • Altering or removing the above signs
  • Not complying with the government standards applicable to the signs

$500 to $12,500

R: $1,000 to $25,000

18

Operator of a place: tolerating cannabis smoking in a place where it is prohibited to do so (fourth paragraph of section 16)

$500 to $12,500

R: $1,000 to $25,000

19

Using cannabis while working or providing services (taking care of or providing care to a minor, a senior or any person in a vulnerable situation)

$750 to $2,250

R: $1,500 to $4,500

22

Commercial producer who does not have the qualifications and does not meet the conditions determined by regulation (concerning the activities of cultivation, transformation, packaging and labelling)

$5,000 to $500,000

R: $10,000 to $1,000,000

22

Not in compliance with the conditions or standards applicable to cannabis production

$100,000 Max

R: $200,000 Max

23

Any person other than the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC), a person it authorizes, the producer or a person determined by government regulation, who transports, delivers or stores cannabis for commercial purposes

$5,000 to $500,000

R: $10,000 to $1,000,000

23

Contravening the regulatory provisions with respect to the transportation, delivery and storage of cannabis

$100,000 Max

R: $200,000 Max

25

Any person other than the SQDC or a producer who sells cannabis

Any person other than the SQDC or a producer who buys cannabis from a producer

Any producer who sells cannabis to a person other than the SQDC or to another producer

$5,000 to $500,000

R: $10,000 to $1,000,000

25

Non-compliance with the conditions and regulatory standards that apply to the sale of cannabis between producers

$100,000 Max

R: $200,000 Max

38

Person under 21 years of age: the purchase of cannabis

$100

39

Person 21 years of age or over: the purchase of cannabis for a person 21 years of age or over

$500 to $1,500

R: $1,000 to $3,000

43

Applicable provisions of the Tobacco Control Act  (TCA) regarding the retail sale of accessories

Pursuant to the TCA

44

Producer: adding any additive or substance to modify the odour, taste, colour; or

Non-compliance with the standards regarding the composition, characteristics and other properties of cannabis determined by the government

$5,000 to $500,000

R: $10,000 to $1,000,000

45

Producer: selling accessories that have a flavour or aroma, or whose packaging imply that they do

$5,000 to $500,000

R: $10,000 to $1,000,000

45

Any other person: selling accessories that have a flavour or aroma, or whose packaging imply that they do

$2,500 to $125,000

R: $5,000 to $250,000

48

Any person other than the SQDC: supplying cannabis to a consumer free of charge, offering a gift or a rebate, reducing the retail price, not complying with the standards established by the government in matters of promotion

$5,000 to $500,000

R: $10,000 to $1,000,000

49

Producer: offering to the SQDC rebates, gratuities or any other form of benefit (sale or retail price of cannabis)

$5,000 to $500,000

R: $10,000 to $1,000,000

50

Operator of a business: selling, giving or exchanging a product that is not cannabis and contains a name, logo, slogan associated directly with the SQDC, a brand of cannabis or an authorized producer

$2,500 to $62,500

R: $5,000 to $125,000

50

Producer: selling, giving or exchanging a product that is not cannabis and contains a name, logo, slogan associated directly with the SQDC, a brand of cannabis or an authorized producer

$5,000 to $500,000

R: $10,000 to $1,000,000

51

Any direct or indirect sponsorship, or

Any case or circumstance that could be associated with the promotion of cannabis, established by the government

$5,000 to $500,000

R: $10,000 to $1,000,000

52

Association of a name, logo, distinguishing guise, design or slogan connected to a brand of cannabis, the SQDC, or to an authorized producer in the following cases:

  • sports or cultural facility, or a facility maintained by a health or social services institution
  • research centre
  • sports, cultural or social event

$5,000 to $500,000

R: $10,000 to $1,000,000

53

Any direct or indirect advertising, or

Any advertising disseminated in printed newspaper or magazines that does not comply with the applicable conditions, or

Non-compliance with the regulatory standards in matters of advertising

$5,000 to $500,000

R: $10,000 to $1,000,000

56

Use on cannabis packaging or container of the concepts referred to in subparagraphs 1 to 6 of the first paragraph of section 53

$5,000 to $500,000

R: $10,000 to $1,000,000

57

Non-compliance with the standards relating to the cannabis container, packaging, printed information and display

$5,000 to $500,000

R: $10,000 to $1,000,000

61

Non-compliance with the standards and obligations applicable within the framework of a pilot project

$200 to $3,000

67

SQDC, mandatary of the SQDC and authorized producer: did not apply the measures and provisions to ensure the monitoring of the cannabis and prevent its being diverted to the illicit market

$100,000 Max

R: $500,000 Max

68

Producer: refusal to send the Minister any required document or information

$1,000 to $100,000

R: $2,000 to $200,000

71

Refusal to comply, within the time period set by an inspector, to send any information or document relating to the application of the Act or its regulations

$500 to $12,500

R: $1,000 to $25,000

77

Hindering in any way the performance of inspection or investigation functions

$2,500 to $62,500

R: $5,000 to $125,000

77

Producer: hindering in any way the performance of inspection or investigation functions

$5,000 to $500,000

R: $10,000 to $1,000,000

80

Driver: failure to comply with a requirement or order by a member of a police force who has reasonable grounds to believe that the vehicle is being used to transport cannabis

$2,500 to $62,500

R: $5,000 to $125,000

Last update: January 6, 2020 9:19 AM