When cannabis becomes legal next week, motorists will have to be careful about where they store the drug while driving.
While the rules vary slightly among the provinces and territories, for the most part, the cannabis must remain sealed in its original packaging and out of reach of anyone in the vehicle. These regulations echo existing laws for transporting alcohol in your vehicle.
When it comes to cannabis, some provinces are more strict, however. For example, Manitoba specifies that the drug must be transported in the vehicle’s trunk, or in an external compartment.
P.E.I., on the other hand, allows for the transportation of marijuana in open packaging, provided it is out of the driver or any passenger’s reach.
Possible fines for violations also vary from province to province, ranging from $237 in Manitoba, to as much as $5,000 and possible jail time in British Columbia.
Of course, driving while consuming cannabis or while under the influence of cannabis will be strictly illegal across the country and could lead to a fine or possible jail time.
Bill Bogart, a law professor at the University of Windsor and author of “Off the Street: Legalizing Drugs,” told CTV’s Your Morning Wednesday that many Canadians think it’s OK to consume marijuana and get behind the wheel.
“One of the biggest myths is that there’s no problem using it and driving,” he said.
A recent poll from the Canadian Automobile Association indicates more than 1.9 million Ontario residents have driven under the influence of cannabis.
Cannabis becomes legal in Canada on Oct. 17.
Here’s a look at each province’s rules for driving with cannabis:
- Alberta: Must be secured in closed packaging and not within reach of the driver or occupants.
- British Columbia: Must be in a sealed package, or inaccessible to any passengers. British Columbians can drive with no more than four cannabis plants that are not flowering.
- Manitoba: Cannabis must be stored in a secure compartment, such as a trunk.
- New Brunswick: No restrictions in place for for how indivduals transport cannabis.
- Newfoundland and Labrador: Cannabis must be in a sealed package or otherwise not readily available to anyone in the vehicle, unless the vehicle is being used as a dwelling. Passengers on taxis and buses will be allowed to carry cannabis.
- Northwest Territories: Cannabis in a vehicle must be unopened or be stored in a place that is out of reach for any passengers.
- Nova Scotia: Marijuana must be in a sealed package and out of reach from anyone in the vehicle.
- Nunavut: Cannabis can not be within reach of anyone in a vehicle.
- Ontario: Package must be sealed or not readily available to anyone in the vehicle.
- P.E.I.: Cannabis is allowed in unopened packaging. If opened, it should not be accessible to anyone in the vehicle.
- Quebec: CTVNews.ca has reached out for clarification on Quebec’s regulation.
- Saskatchewan: Cannabis is allowed in a vehicle, provided it is not being ingested, it was bought legally and is being transported to a place where it will be legally ingested.
- Yukon: Cannabis in a vehicle must be in a closed container and inaccessible to all passengers.