As of October 17, 2018, cannabis became legal for recreational use. However, there are certain limits pertaining to its use, possession, cultivation, and purchase.

So, What’s Legal?

Under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (CCLA), the following regulations have been implemented. The Act’s objective is to promote safe use, eliminate the criminal elements, and support economic development.

Legal Age

Similar to regulations around alcohol and tobacco, you must be at least 19 years old to possess, use, purchase, or cultivate cannabis for recreational use in British Columbia.

Where can you Smoke or Vape Marijuana?

A general rule of thumb is that cannabis use is legal wherever smoking and vaping tobacco is allowed. Additionally, to mitigate the harmful and irritating effects of secondhand smoke, the government has banned smoking and vaping of cannabis in the following public areas:

  • Public buildings, workplaces, and common areas of apartments and condos
  • Within six meters of air intakes, windows, and doorways of public buildings
  • Within six meters of bus stops, train stations, ferry docks, and transit shelters
  • Playgrounds, sports fields, swimming pools and any associated seating areas
  • Regional and municipal parks, unless otherwise designated
  • Provincial parks, unless otherwise designated
  • Public patios
  • Properties relating to the health board, unless otherwise designated


Non-medical cannabis is sold exclusively at licensed private retailers and online through the government. For more information regarding cannabis licensing laws, please refer to the previous post here.


In a public space, adults are limited to possessing 30 grams of non-medical cannabis. No more than 1,000 grams can be held in a non-public space, such as in homes. This limit is evaluated on a per household basis.


Adults are able to grow up to four cannabis plants deemed for recreational use. Again, this limit is enforced per household, not individual.

Household cannabis plants are prohibited in areas that are visible from a public place standpoint, including parks, streets, and schools.

Note that landlords and strata corporations have the authority to place more restrictions with regards to cultivating non-medical cannabis.

Lastly, cannabis cannot be grown in homes that possess a child care license.


As aforementioned, adults are able to carry up to 30 grams of cannabis in public places. However, there are further restrictions in place when dealing with your motor vehicle. Note that motor vehicles include not only your day-to-day vehicles, but also boats and motorized scooters.

Using cannabis prior to or while driving will leave you facing significant and expensive penalties. Being in a parked car or pulling over to use does not negate this effect.

If you do not consume or use cannabis in a motor vehicle, but have ready access to it, you may still be subject to harsh penalties. In B.C., the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (CCLA) claims that possession of cannabis in your vehicle remains a ticketable offence.

However, this restriction does have certain exceptions. Adults in B.C. are able to transport non-medical cannabis in their vehicles as long as:

  • It is left inaccessible to both the driver and passengers.
  • It is left in its original and sealed packaging from a licensed source.

As well, plants can be transferred if they are not yet budding or flowering.

Lastly, as long as motor vehicles, campers, or trailers are parked off a public road and used as a private residence, recreational cannabis can be used.

Amendments have been made to the Motor Vehicle Act in an attempt to lessen the amount of drug-impaired drivers. These include:

  • The 90-day Administrative Driving Prohibition (ADP) for individuals who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This will be evaluated by a specially trained police drug recognition expert (DRE).
  • New drivers who are still in the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) are subject to a zero-tolerance restriction for THC.

Leave a comment