Partial LegalizationWhat is legal?

  • possession up to 30 grams of legal cannabis, dried or equivalent in non-dried form in public
  • share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adults
  • buy dried or fresh cannabis and cannabis oil from a provincially-licensed retailer
  • grow, from licensed seed or seedlings, up to 4 cannabis plants per residence for personal use
  • make cannabis products, such as food and drinks, at home as long as organic solvents are not used to create concentrated products

Cannabis edible products and concentrates will be legal for sale approximately one year after the Cannabis Act has come into force on October 17th, 2018.

What is illegal?

OffencePenalties
Possession over the limit- tickets for small amounts
- up to 5 years in jail
Illegal distribution or sale- tickets for small amounts
- up to 14 years in jail
Producing cannabis beyond personal cultivation limits or with combustible solvents- tickets for small amounts
- up to 14 years in jail
Taking cannabis across Canada's borders- up to 14 years in jail
Giving or selling cannabis to a person under 18- up to 14 years in jail
Using a youth to commit a cannabis-related offence- up to 14 years in jail

Penalties for drug-impaired driving

New Summary Conviction Offence
2 ng but less than 5 ng of THC per ml of blood- Maximum $1,000 fine
New hybrid offences
5 ng or more of THC per ml of blood. Any detectable level of LSD, psilocybin, psilocin, ketamine, PCP, cocaine, methamphetamine, 6-mam. 5 mg/L of GHBFirst offence- Mandatory minimum $1,000 fine
Second offence- Mandatory minimum 30 days imprisonment
Third and subsequent offences- Mandatory minimum 120 days imprisonment
50 milligrams (mg) of alcohol per 100 ml blood + 2.5 ng or more of THC per ml of bloodFirst offence- Mandatory minimum $1,000 fine
Second offence- Mandatory minimum 30 days imprisonment
Third offence- Mandatory minimum 120 days imprisonment
Drug-impaired driving that does not cause bodily harm or death - Maximum penalties
Summary conviction- 18 months imprisonment
Indictment- 5 years imprisonment
Drug-impaired driving causing bodily harm - Maximum penalty - Life imprisonment
Testing
Police can demand that a driver comply with either a standardized field sobriety test or provide an
oral fluid sample if they reasonably suspect a drug is in the driver’s body. If they have reasonable grounds to
believe that an offence has been committed, they can demand a blood sample or a drug recognition evaluation.

Source: Government of Canada, Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, Website accessed October 10, 2018 (modified)

Important Information about Cannabis

Even if a person uses cannabis infrequently, they may have residual amounts of THC in their system for more than 24 hours. A member who uses cannabis the night before going to work may not be legal to drive the next day.

THC builds up in a person’s system over time. A regular user of cannabis (medical or recreational) will have significant amounts of THC in their system for a long period. Even after a regular user stops using, they may not be legal to drive for 30 days or longer since their last use.

There is evidence that a person continues to experience residual impairment during the time that THC remains in their system. A person may not feel “high” but still be impaired.

What does this mean for work and what advice should the Union provide members?

Workplace IssueBest Advice
An employee may be fired or disciplined if they use cannabis at work.
The Union should advise members that they should not use cannabis at work. Members should not bring cannabis to work.
An employee may be disciplined or fired if they are under the influence of cannabis at work.
The Union should advise members not to use cannabis within 24 hours of their work shift.
An employee may be disciplined or fired if they operate a motor vehicle or equipment and they are above 2 ng of THC.
An occasional user should be told that they would need more than 24 hours between use and return to work. A regular user would never be legal to drive. Best advice is to abstain.
An employee is in a safety sensitive position.
An occasional user should be told that they would need more than 24 hours between use and return to work. A regular user would never be legal to drive. Best advice is to abstain.
If an employee is involved in a serious incident such as an accident, they should expect to be tested. If they have any THC in their system they may be disciplined or fired.
An occasional user should be told that they would need more than 24 hours between use and return to work. A regular user would never be legal to drive. Best advice is to abstain.
An employee is prescribed medical cannabis and uses it on a regular basis.
The member should discuss possible impairment and THC levels in their system with their doctor. If the member operates a vehicle or is in a safety sensitive position they must report their medical use to the employer. They should expect to be removed from their driving or safety sensitive position.
An employee posts pictures of themselves using cannabis and in various stages of impairment on social media. Depending on the nature of an employee’s job they may face discipline.
The member should consult with their doctor about impairment.
The employer develops a policy regarding the use of cannabis. If an employee does not comply they may be disciplined or terminated.
The member should follow the workplace rule. If they have concerns, they should contact the Union.
Other provincial or municipal laws restrict the use of cannabis (i.e. prohibition for truck drivers in Nfld).
Obey the law.

Please note that if an employer disciplines or fires a member, the Union may challenge the decision. Each case will be analyzed based on its particular facts and there is no guarantee that the Union will grieve or pursue each case to arbitration.

 

For more information, contact David Wallbridge, dwallbridge@pinklarkin.com or Jill Houlihan, jhoulihan@pinklarkin.com