Understanding Cannabis Product Legal Equivalencies

Understanding Cannabis Product Legal Equivalencies

Medical and recreational marijuana is legal throughout Canada, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t regulations. Each province and territory sets its own possession limits and other restrictions. Understanding local laws will give you peace of mind, allowing you to enjoy your cannabis product peacefully.

Getting to Know Your Local Laws

When the Canadian government legalized cannabis in 2018, it gave provinces and territories the responsibility of determining the details of their own cannabis laws. Local governments setting their own rules on cannabis distribution and retail predictably led to differences between each region’s restrictions. Here are some keys points to know:

  • Most provinces allow people 19 years and older to purchase cannabis, while Alberta’s minimum buying age is 18. Quebec has the strictest age requirement with its 21 and older policy.
  • Consumers can purchase cannabis from government-operated stores in most areas except Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, Newfoundland, and Labrador. Ontario and Nunavut allow you to buy from government-run online stores.
  • You can buy cannabis from private online retailers in most regions except Nunavut and Ontario.
  • Consumers can buy from private licensed stores in all areas except British Columbia, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Yukon.
  • Nunavut is the only region that allows consumers to purchase cannabis products by phone.

All regions allow a person to possess 30 grams of dried cannabis or an equivalent amount of a different form. You can find more cannabis regional information on their websites.

What Are Equivalencies?

Equivalencies are government-mandated calculations used to regulate how much cannabis can be sold and possessed by an individual. Cannabis equivalencies use a strict conversion table to measure multiple cannabis products, using dried cannabis as a starting point. According to Canadian law, one gram of dried cannabis is equal to:

  • 5 grams of fresh cannabis
  • 15 grams of edible product
  • 70 grams of liquid product
  • .25 grams of concentrates
  • One cannabis plant seed
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Since a retailer can only sell you 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent, they will reference the table above to ensure they are compliant with Canada’s weed laws. For example:

  • A retailer can sell you 30 grams of dried cannabis, 150 grams of fresh cannabis or 450 grams of edible products, etc.
  • If selling a combination of products, they can only sell the equivalent of 30 grams in total. According to the above table, 10 grams of dried cannabis, 50 grams of fresh cannabis, and 150 grams of edibles are equivalent to the 30 grams of legal dried cannabis.

Those who wish to circumvent the 30 grams law should be aware that purchasing and possessing more than the legal limit can result in fines or jail time—potentially up to five years.

Keeping Track of Cannabis Equivalencies

If you’re someone who buys multiple cannabis products in different forms, you’ll want to keep track of your purchases, so you don’t find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

Keeping track of cannabis equivalencies can be a time-consuming, frustrating experience for cashiers and customers. Trying to calculate whether your shopping cart will exceed the 30 grams limit at the checkout line will lead to frustration. It can also significantly increase your chance of making a mistake and finding yourself in legal hot water as a result. Fortunately, point of sale (POS) software in the cannabis industry can record equivalencies and warn cashiers if the customer has reached or exceeded the legal limit.

Health Canada has strict regulations on cannabis packaging and labeling. Licensed producers are required to provide comprehensive information about their products so you, as a consumer, can understand exactly what you are buying. The labeling format is consistent for every product. It includes storage information and health warnings. Some information to take note of includes:

  • Strain Type
  • Packaging and Expiry Date
  • Product Weight
  • Warning Label
  • CBD and THC Content
  • Licensed Producer Information
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When you store your cannabis, make sure to keep it away from light, air moisture, and extreme temperatures. To keep your cannabis fresher for longer, store it in vacuum sealing, glass jars, or ceramic containers with air-tight seals. Cannabis flower tends to absorb anything near it, so keep it in its own separate container.

Buy Marijuana In Bulk

Many people like to purchase products and goods in bulk, either to always be stocked up or to save money. If you arm yourself with knowledge, you can buy marijuana in bulk while remaining within the legal limits.

If the numbers and calculations described above sound overly complicated, don’t worry too much. Health Canada provides a convenient cannabis equivalency calculator for easy equivalencies. Simply plug in your intended purchase or what you currently have in your cart to quickly see if you’re under the legal 30 grams limit.

Enjoy Cannabis Within Limits

You are well within your rights to enjoy cannabis for recreational or medical consumption. However, always ensure that you are aware of your region’s regulations- especially if you move to a new territory or province. Understanding cannabis equivalency rules will help you make informed purchasing decisions and minimize legal risk.

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