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Friday, July 20, 2018

Prince Edward Island

Cannabis legislation

The Government of Canada introduced legislation that will make cannabis, or marijuana, legal in Prince Edward Island and the rest of Canada by July 2018. Before that time, Prince Edward Island must decide how to adapt to this legislation.

Programs, policies, laws and public education will be required to determine where and when cannabis can be sold, tax implications, the legal age to purchase and how communities will be protected from potential negative consequences like drug-impaired driving.

Proposed federal legislation

The Government of Canada has introduced legislation to legalize, regulate and restrict access to cannabis – Bill C-45 Cannabis Act and Bill C-46 An Act to amend the Criminal Code. This legislation is expected to come into effect by July 2018. 

The federal legislation, along with strict regulations, would:

  • allow adults to possess up to 30 grams of legally-produced cannabis;
  • allow adults to grow up to four cannabis plants per household;
  • set the minimum age for purchase and use at 18 years of age, with the option for provinces to increase the age limit;
  • enable a regulatory regime for the licensed production of cannabis, which would be controlled by the federal government;
  • enable a regulatory regime for the distribution and sale of cannabis, which would be controlled by the provincial government; and
  • establish new provisions to address drug-impaired driving, as well as making several changes to the overall legal framework to address alcohol impaired driving.

  Price Edward Island Cannabis 

Role of the provinces

While legalization is a federal decision, provinces and municipalities have been given areas of responsibility, as outlined in the table below:

Jurisdictional responsibilities for the legalization of cannabis

** Provinces will have the ability to strengthen legislation for these areas under federal jurisdiction

Federal responsibility?
Provincial responsibility?
Possession limits**
Advertisement and packaging**
Impaired driving
Seed-to-sale tracking system
Production (cultivation and processing)
Age limit (federal minimum)**
Public health
Home cultivation (growing plants at home)**
Distribution and wholesaling
Retail model
Retail locations and rulesNoYes
Regulatory complianceYesYes
Public consumptionNoYes
Land use and/or zoningNoYes

A Prince Edward Island approach

The Government of Prince Edward Island has an obligation and an opportunity to shape how the province will adapt to cannabis legalization in a way that best suits Islanders’ needs, circumstances and values.

Provincially, the focus is on:

  • limiting the illegal market for cannabis
  • keeping cannabis out of the hands of children and youth
  • protecting public health
  • promoting safety on roads, in workplaces and in public spaces

To do this, government will continue to assess the implications of legalization, engage with Islanders to hear a diversity of views and determine needs, explore regional opportunities and respond in a way that makes the most sense for Prince Edward Island.  Currently, provincial policy direction includes:

  • Legal age: the legal age for cannabis use will be age 19, aligned with the province’s legal age for alcohol and tobacco
  • Public consumption: cannabis use will be restricted to private residences, with a potential for expansion to designated public spaces at a later date, to help limit its impact on communities and public health;
  • Adult possession: adults will be allowed to publicly possess 30 grams of lawful dried cannabis or equivalent, which aligns with the federal legislation;
  • Youth possession: youth under 19 will be prohibited from possessing cannabis. The province’s approach to protecting youth will focus on prevention, diversion, and harm reduction, without unnecessarily bringing them into contact with the justice system.
  • Drug-impaired driving: the province will strengthen roadside suspension and create a summary offense in cases of impaired driving with a minor, with potential for increasing penalties in the future.
  • Transporting: when transporting cannabis, it must remain in unopened packaging and, where an open package is being transported the product will be required to be secure and inaccessible to anyone in the vehicle.
  • Education: public health and safety campaigns for cannabis are already underway and will intensify as legalization approaches. In addition, the province will support youth, young adults and all Islanders by developing educational and harm-reduction strategies. The approach will include education, health, and social service providers that work with – and educate – Islanders.
  • Retail model: Prince Edward Island will have four dedicated government-owned retail locations for cannabis sales in 2018, as well as an e-commerce platform. The retail sites will be in Charlottetown, Summerside, Montague, and West Prince.
  • Suppliers: The province is entering into agreements with three companies to supply legal and regulated product:

These policy directions are significant steps in the cannabis legalization framework for Prince Edward Island. There are additional decisions to come related to personal cultivation, ticketing offences, and other topics which require legislative or regulatory direction.

What is the timeline for the legalization of cannabis legislation?

April 13, 2017: Introduction of federal cannabis legislation

August to October 2017: Receive public and stakeholder input to PEI’s approach to cannabis legalization.

October to December 2017: Review public engagement findings

Winter to Spring 2018: Draft and present provincial legislative changes related to cannabis to the PEI Legislative Assembly and launch a public education campaign

July 2018: Implement cannabis legislation

Online consultation now closed

Thank you for providing your feedback on what cannabis legislation should look like for Prince Edward Island.


Provincial cannabis committee
Email: cannabis@gov.pe.ca(link sends e-mail)

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