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Cannabis and Policing

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Rows of cannabis plants in an outdoor greenhouse

Cannabis and the law

The Cannabis Act, 2017 contains the legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis across Canada as of October 17, 2018. The Regional Municipality of York, including the Public Health and Bylaw departments, or individual municipalities, will enforce non-criminal requirements such as complaints around public consumption, odour and retail locations, as well as the Smoke Free Ontario Act, 2017 which regulates the sale, supply, use, display and promotion of tobacco, vapour products and cannabis.

In conjunction with the regulations set out in the act, York Regional Police, working alongside our municipal, regional, provincial and federal partners, will be enforcing violations of the federal act and the provincial regulations, concentrating on the following enforcement responsibilities .

York Regional Police enforcement responsibilities

Impaired driving

  • On suspicion of impairment, an officer can compel a driver to take a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) or be tested by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE).
  • For G1, G2, commercial drivers and those under 21, no amount of cannabis is legal.

Distribution (selling or trafficking)

  • Currently, the only legal way to purchase cannabis is online through the Ontario Cannabis Store or through a licensed dispensary.
  • YRP will continue to enforce illegal distribution, either commercial or non-commercial and the unlawful trafficking of cannabis via an illicit location.


  • The Cannabis Act dictates a four-plant maximum per residence.
  • YRP will continue to investigate and charge owners of illegal cannabis grow operations, including those who are growing in excess of Health Canada licences.


  • Youth under 19 are not permitted to possess, consume or grow cannabis in Ontario.
  • Adults are permitted to possess a maximum of 30 grams of cannabis for recreational use.
  • Medical users can possess in excess of 30 grams in certain circumstances, if they can provide documentation to an officer that they have been issued a valid medical licence by Health Canada. Additional information on acceptable documentation can be found on the Health Canada website.

Transporting cannabis in a vehicle

  • All cannabis must be packaged, sealed and inaccessible to all vehicle occupants.
  • If any passenger has access to cannabis, the driver could be charged.
  • If transporting cannabis, the best place to store it is in the trunk of your vehicle.

Additional resources

To learn more about provincial cannabis laws, visit Ontario's website. To learn more about cannabis in Canada, visit Canada's federal website.