Recreational cannabis


As of Oct. 17, 2018, under federal legislation, cannabis use for recreational purposes has become legal across Canada. The province is responsible for setting in place regulations for the use and sale of cannabis in Ontario. Ontario’s Cannabis License Act, 2018 requires city councils to decide to opt-in or opt-out of hosting stand-alone, retail cannabis stores. The province is responsible for the licensing and regulation of the stores through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

Kitchener City Council will be receiving a report and recommendation on whether or not to opt-in or opt-out of cannabis retail stores in Kitchener at a Special Council meeting on Monday, January 14, 2019. To appear as a delegation on this matter, please register online.

We understand that residents may have questions or concerns about the potential impact legal cannabis will have in our community. Our priority has always been on protecting our community and vulnerable populations from any negative impacts of legalization and are committed to working with community partners and other levels of government for the safe implementation of this new legislation.

What you need to know 

Cannabis for non-medical use has been made legal in Canada as of Oct. 17, 2018. Under the new laws in Ontario, adults 19 years of age or older will be able to:

  • purchase cannabis online through the Ontario Cannabis Store.  
  • possess up to 30 grams of dried legal cannabis in public.

Using cannabis and driving is illegal and dangerous. Cannabis, like many other drugs, slows your reaction time and increases your chances of being in a collision. Learn more about impaired driving on the Ministry of Transportation’s website.

Under the new legislation, you will be able to grow up to four plants per residence (not per person).

It remains illegal for travellers to take cannabis out of Canada or to bring it back from other countries.

The rules and regulations related to cannabis may be different in other provinces and territories.

It is illegal to sell or purchase edible recreational cannabis products.

The law on cannabis use for medical purposes is different and can be found at Health Canada

Where you can/can’t consume

Where you can or can’t consume cannabis is regulated by the Smoke Free Ontario Act. Generally, this means smoking cannabis will be allowed wherever smoking cigarettes is permitted and banned where smoking cigarettes is banned.

Who to contact 

If you have concerns about the new federal or provincial legislation, you may wish to speak with your Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP).

For complaints regarding cannabis use in public

The Provincial government has permitted smoking in all public spaces where smoking of tobacco is permitted under the Smoke Free Ontario Act. Without delegated authority, there is no ability for municipalities to enforce this. We would encourage you to contact your local MP and MPP to express your concerns.

If you are interested in operating a private cannabis retail store in Kitchener

The AGCO is the regulator for private cannabis retail stores in Ontario. Find information about the AGCO's licensing regulations and application process on their website

To report illegal cannabis sales/distribution/growing

As of Oct. 17, 2018, the Ontario Cannabis Store website will be the only legal option for purchasing recreational cannabis. To report the unlicensed sale or distribution of cannabis, or someone growing more than the allowed number of plants, contact the Waterloo Regional Police Services.

To report smoking or vaping of cannabis where it is not permitted

Where smoking or vaping cannabis is permitted is regulated under the Smoke Free Ontario Act. If you observe someone consuming cannabis where it is not permitted – like on school property or city owned recreational facility, contact Region of Waterloo Tobacco Enforcement.

For complaints that are specific to smoking within a rental building by other tenants 

The landlord as owner of the building would have to pursue action through the Residential Tenancies Act which oversees all lease agreements.

To report someone under the age of 19 consuming cannabis

It is illegal to buy or consume cannabis if you are under the age of 19. To report illegal use by a minor, contact Waterloo Regional Police Services.

To report someone consuming cannabis while driving or driving while impaired

Using cannabis and driving is illegal and dangerous. Call Waterloo Regional Police Services.

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