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Planning a trip to Ontario to try legal cannabis?

Planning a trip to Ontario to try legal cannabis?

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO  -October 30, 2018  (LSNews)  There are millions of Americans who live within a few hours’ drive of Ontario, and now that Canada has legalized the recreational use of cannabis nationwide, many of those U.S. residents are expected to make their way up north to try it out.

As the largest city on Lake Superior, located only 45 minutes from a U.S. border crossing, Thunder Bay welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year already, and for those visitors who are looking to partake..


Every province in Canada has different rules and regulations surrounding the purchase and use of cannabis. In Ontario, adults over the age of 19 (with valid government-issued ID) are able to “purchase, possess and consume” cannabis.


In Ontario, visitors should be aware that cannabis can be vaped/smoked in “private residences (including in outdoor spaces), public outdoor spaces (including parks and sidewalks), designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns, residential vehicles and boats (provided they have permanent sleeping and cooking facilities as well as being parked and/or anchored).”

If you're staying in a hotel, ask at the front desk if they have a preffered smoking area, otherwise you can smoke/vape outside as long as you are more than 9 metres (30 feet) from any entrance(s).

Municipal by-laws, lease agreements, and company policies can enact additional restrictions, so be sure to check with someone in charge if you are unsure if cannabis use is permitted where you are.


It is legal to smoke or vape in any public outdoor space, but be aware of your surroundings as it remains illegal within 20m (65ft) of a school, a playground, a childcare centre or a publically-owned sport field/facility (with the noted exception of golf courses) as per the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

Recreational Vehicles

While it is permitted to smoke/vape in your RV while parked, it remains illegal to smoke/vape in any vehicle (including an RV or boat) that is being driven or is at risk of being moved (this includes the driver and all passengers inside the vehicle). Using cannabis before or while driving (or while sitting in a vehicle that is at risk of being moved—so basically, any vehicle that runs) can result in an impaired driving charge.


Impaired Driving

Ontario police are authorized to use roadside oral fluid screening devices. Impaired driving is a serious offence in Ontario and drivers shown to be impaired by alcohol, cannabis or any other substance can face stiff penalties including having their vehicle impounded, a loss of driving privileges, significant fines and even jail time.


Don’t smoke and drive, or boat!


The only cannabis that is legal in Ontario is cannabis that has been legally procured through permitted sources. You cannot bring cannabis across the U.S./Canada border, in either direction.

Travelling domestically with cannabis is permitted providing you are in compliance with other applicable regulations (max 30g etc.) but if you are considering bringing cannabis back to the U.S. or any other country, DO NOT DO THIS! It is not worth the risk.


A sign on the Canadian-side of the U.S./Canada border crossing at Pigeon River reminding Canadians and returning U.S. visitors that it is illegal to cross the border with cannabis.

Cannabis is illegal in most countries and despite being legal in some states, cannabis remains federally illegal in the U.S.

A drug smuggling conviction will ruin your life. Don't risk it. Just leave it behind and start planning your next visit.


Cannabis has been illegal for decades; there are many conflicting opinions on legalization, and not everyone is happy about it. As long as you are complying with the law you are good, but for the sake of keeping the peace be respectful about your consumption. Ask your hotel where they would prefer you smoke, don’t blow clouds at passersby, dispose of unused materials properly—basically, don’t be a jerk.



The cannabis of today is often stronger than what people may have tried decades ago. Also, combining alcohol and cannabis can increase the felt-intoxication from both substances. So be careful. Go easy. Call a cab or use a ride-sharing service to get home.

For more information on legislation and retail sales visit the Ontario Government’s Cannabis info page and the Ontario Cannabis Store.

By Stephanie Reid
Stephanie is the Digital and Travel Media Officer for Tourism Thunder Bay October 15, 2018

You are permitted to purchase up to 30 grams (about one ounce) of dried recreational cannabis or equivalent at one time for personal use.

One gram of dried cannabis is equal (equivalent) to:

  • 5 grams of fresh cannabis
  • 15 grams of edible product
  • 70 grams of liquid product
  • 0.25 grams of concentrates (solid or liquid)
  • 1 cannabis plant seed

The Ontario Cannabis Store

The Ontario Cannabis Store website is the only legal way to purchase all forms of recreational cannabis online. It follows strict rules set by the federal government.

Online orders are delivered safely and securely. Consumers must verify their age to accept delivery and no packages will be left unattended at the door.

Private retail stores

You can purchase cannabis in person only from authorized retail cannabis stores in Ontario.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is the provincial regulator authorized to grant store licences and make sure stores sell recreational cannabis safely, responsibly and lawfully. The Ontario Cannabis Store is the exclusive wholesaler to these stores.

Authorized retailers must display the official cannabis retail seal at their store. To make sure the store is authorized before you purchase, look for the seal or check the official list of authorized stores.

Seal - Ontario Authorized

Edibles, extracts and topicals

You must follow the same rules for buying cannabis no matter what form of cannabis you buy.

By January 2020, new product classes (cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals) are expected to be available for sale at authorized private retailers and online through the Ontario Cannabis Store.

If you are 19 or over, you can make your own cannabis edibles for personal consumption only. You cannot sell them or share them with anyone under the age of 19.


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