Cannabis - What's legal?
There are strict laws and regulations around the legalization of non-medical cannabis. Before you buy, use, or grow your own non-medical cannabis, learn more about what’s legal and what’s not.
You must be 19 years or older to buy, use, possess, or grow non-medical cannabis in B.C.
To protect your health, keep young people safe and help prevent crime in your community, non-medical cannabis is sold exclusively at government-run stores, licensed private retailers, and the B.C. government’s online store.
The BC Liquor Distribution Branch operates public retail stores and an online store. The list of public retail stores is be available on the BC Cannabis Stores website.
The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch is responsible for licensing and monitoring private retail stores. Licensed private retailers may sell cannabis and cannabis accessories. They may not sell liquor or tobacco or any items other than cannabis and cannabis accessories. The list of provincially authorized retailers is available on the BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch’s page. Legal retailers are required to display a valid licence where it is visible to the public.
All legal non-medical cannabis has an excise stamp attached to its packaging. Federally-licensed producers and processors apply the appropriate excise tax stamp for British Columbia. If the product does not have a British Columbia stamp it is not legal for sale in B.C. Each province and territory has a different coloured cannabis excise stamp for products sold in their jurisdiction.
Adults 19+ can carry up to 30 grams of dried non-medical cannabis, or its equivalent, in a public place.
In addition, adults cannot possess any more than 1,000 grams of dried non-medical cannabis, or its equivalent, in a non-public place, such as at your home. This limit is per household and is based on the expected yield from four cannabis plants.
Adults 19+ can generally smoke or vape cannabis in public spaces where tobacco smoking and vaping are allowed. But remember, second-hand smoke can be harmful and irritating to people, especially children, so be mindful when smoking in public spaces.
Smoking and vaping cannabis are not allowed in the following public places:
- Playgrounds, sports fields, skate parks, swimming pools and spray pools, or any decks or seating areas associated these places
- Public buildings, workplaces, or common areas of apartments, condos, or dormitories, and within six metres of air intakes, windows, and doorways attached to these places
- Within six metres of bus stops, transit shelters, train stations, ferry docks and similar places
- Regional and municipal parks, except for designated campsites
- Provincial parks, except for areas identified or designated
- Public patios
- Health board properties, except in designated smoking areas
Registered hotel guests may smoke or vape cannabis in their hotel room if the hotel allows it.
Community care facilities, assisted living residences, and hospitals may designate specific rooms in which residents or patients can smoke or vape cannabis.
Non-medical cannabis consumption (in all forms) is banned on K-12 school properties, as well as any adjacent sidewalks or boulevards. It’s also illegal for both driver and passenger(s) to consume non-medical cannabis in a car.
Local and Indigenous governments can set additional restrictions on public use of non-medical cannabis under existing powers to establish bylaws.
There are exemptions for use of Health Canada authorized medical cannabis on school property and on inter-city buses, trains and boats as long as specific requirements are met. Details are available in the Cannabis Control Regulation under Part 4 – Medical Cannabis.
The Public Consumption factsheet (PDF, 635KB) provides additional details about public consumption in B.C. (PDF, 635KB)
Medical cannabis is within the responsibility of Health Canada. To find out more, go to Health Canada.
B.C. developed the factsheet Advisory on Medical Cannabis for Health Care Practitioners [PDF, 350KB] for health care practitioners about the important roles and responsibilities they have in the appropriate operation of the medical cannabis system and in preventing misuse.
There are strict federal rules around promotion of cannabis.
In addition, under provincial regulations, it is illegal for anyone without a retail license issued by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch to advertise themselves as a licensed retailer. Also, no one can market, advertise or promote a place as a location to consume cannabis, or spend time after consuming cannabis.
To find out more about the provincial rules regarding advertising and promotion see sections 36 and 37 of the Cannabis Control Regulation and section 9 of the Cannabis Control and Licensing Transitional Regulation.