Marijuana enthusiasts are getting excited for October 17th, the day when recreational cannabis will be legalized across the country and government-run pot-stores will officially open their doors, or websites, for the first time.
If they're in Ontario though they're going to run into a pretty big issue. Thanks to the province's retail model, nobody in the province will actually be able to smoke legal weed for a few more days, and if you do - you might run into some issues.
When we say legal weed what that means is any marijuana bought from the official government retailers. All other cannabis sold from dealers, dispensaries, and non-licensed retailers is still considered to be illegal.
In fact, if you are questioned by police and it's found that your weed was acquired illegally, you can actually get slapped with a fine for possession of illegal drugs, which at the lowest end of the scale is $200 but in the worst cases could lead to five years in jail.
With the new laws coming into place, it will require some legwork on the part of the police to determine whether someone's weed is illegal or not. The simplest way will be through looking at receipts or if the weed is still in the original packaging. Government packaging will be in distinctive child-proof containers with a specific stamp on it.
It does get trickier for police if the package has already been disposed of, but according to comments from an RCMP officer, police officers can ask a series of questions to determine whether the weed was bought from the government, grown at home (which is also legal), or acquired illicitly from another source.
This brings us back to Ontario, if anyone is smoking weed in the province when it first becomes legal on October 17th, you'll actually be smoking illegal weed since it will be impossible to get government weed in Ontario by then and here's why.
The lack of weed in the hands of Ontarians isn't due to projected weed shortages in Canada, but actually thanks to the Ford Government's online only cannabis retail system.
While the system will open up to consumers on Wednesday, Canada Post, who is responsible for delivering the weed to customers, won't be doing same day delivery. It's expected that when you order from the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) website, delivery will take anywhere from 1-3 days.
What this means for Ontarians is that since the OCS website is the only retailer where you can get legal weed in this province, you won't actually be able to get legal recreational weed until at least Thursday or Friday.
Given that interesting twist in the plan, it means any recreational weed smoked in Ontario prior to that would have acquired it illegally since it is literally impossible to get it any other way by October 17th. So theoretically, police could charge anyone lighting up in public with illegal drug possession, even though marijuana will be legal.
That being said Ontarians probably don't have too much to worry about. Chances that police will actually be patrolling and enforcing whether or not your weed is legal are very slim, especially given concerns that forces like Toronto Police are already stretched for resources.
If you're still worried about getting caught though you do have a couple options. The first and most obvious one is just to wait a few days until you actually receive your official government-licensed pot in the mail to smoke. The second option is to only smoke inside your house or in your backyard, but we're definitely not recommending that.
The last option if you're worried about getting caught is to go purchase weed from a government retailer in another province, although that is a lot more work. In Quebec, which is probably the closest and easiest to get to province, they are due to have 20 shops opening with legalizations, but even that would be a bit of a road trip for some.
In Ontario, physical retail locations for government-licensed marijuana are due to open in April of 2019, under Doug Ford's marijuana legislation.