Starting today, the poutine-loving, Celine Dion-blasting, hockey-playing, moose-wrestling residents of Canada may now legally purchase cannabis all across their fine country. That's right: It's now legal, nationwide. Which leads me to the question, "Who in Canada would like to marry a cannabis columnist who is seeking to flee the flaming sewer bomb that the US is rapidly becoming?"
Canada is now the second country to legalize cannabis nationwide, and by far the largest. (The first? Uruguay, a country you should learn more about, because they are remarkable in many other ways, such as a literacy rate of over 98 percent.) If you are heading to the Great White North to partake of the Great Green Stuff, you should be aware of how it works, and proceed accordingly.
Let's answer some of those burning questions.
Where can I get it?
It's legal, but not legally available everywhere just yet. Meaning: While weed is legal nationwide, each province is rolling out different plans as to how it may be obtained. Choices include dispensaries and mail order. Yep—the country is making cannabis available by mail order. Because why would a government that provides its citizens with education and health care NOT offer online cannabis?
Going to British Columbia? Online ordering will be the easiest way to get your cannabis, as presently there is only one dispensary, and it's in Kamloops, a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Vancouver. If you find yourself in Saskatchewan, things are looking up, because there are 51 privately run dispensaries from which you can choose.
How much can I buy?
Up to 30 grams. You can buy flower, seeds, and oil, but concentrates, edibles, and topicals aren't yet available. You should expect the products to be lower in THC than what is readily available in the unregulated marketplace, which is still very active. Those in the medical program are allowed to possess 150 grams. (If you do decide to get your weed through, um, unregulated channels, I implore you to avoid doing so in the West/East Hastings area of Vancouver. Narcotics are readily available and used in the area, and from personal experience, I can confirm the weed isn't worth the risk.)
How much does it cost?
This will vary based on where you make your purchase—in Quebec, the New York Times reports that there it will vary by quality, but will average around 7 Canadian dollars per gram, or about $5.40 US dollars. A cannabis excise tax is built into that price, but a sales tax will be applied to the final purchase.
Where will I be able to smoke?
Again, it depends on the province, but in British Columbia, cannabis may be consumed anywhere tobacco is, excepting beaches and parks. (Sweet Jeezbus, I want to go to there, now). Currently there aren't government-approved Amsterdam-style coffee shops, but it's a safe bet these will be shortly forthcoming. And the country has numerous unregulated smoking lounges that have been in existence for years, so ask nicely and a Canuck may tell you where to find them. Or, you know, Google.
Remember to use common sense. Don't tell border crossing agents you are headed up for a Marijuana Holiday, and obviously do not bring anything back with you. Be cool—no one likes the Ugly American vibe, so be polite, and share your purchase if the opportunity arises.
And once again—Canadian women seeking to marry an American cannabis enthusiast? I'm at email@example.com. Please, get me out of here.