Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The Conference Board of Canada and The Globe and Mail are partnering to explore the relationship between career success and cannabis use. Employers and employees (both recreational and medical cannabis users, as well as non-cannabis users) are invited to participate in this study. (Employees interested in taking the survey can click on this link. Employers interested in taking the survey can click on this link.) The data from these surveys will be aggregated and used to conduct analysis and create a report that will be presented Oct. 15, 2019, at a conference at The Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto.

Bill Howatt is the chief of research for work force productivity at the Conference Board of Canada. Karina Karassev is the chief operating officer at Responsible Cannabis Use (RCU).

One could be forgiven for being confused about Canada’s cannabis laws. Federally, the Cannabis Act sets the framework for how cannabis can be produced, distributed, sold and possessed in Canada. But each province and territory has its own rules, and municipalities also have the power to enact their own bylaws. This has created a patchwork of laws across the country.

Story continues below advertisement


In a survey conducted by cannabis education organization Responsible Cannabis Use (RCU) earlier this year, Canadians were tested on knowledge of the legal age of use in their province, possession limits, smoking area laws and impaired driving penalties.

Overall, the national average score was 71 per cent, but there are notable regional differences. Residents of Prince Edward Island demonstrated a good understanding of cannabis laws, achieving an average score of 80 per cent. On the opposite end of the country, British Columbians scored 56 per cent.

Penalties for violating cannabis laws, even unknowingly, can be hefty. That’s why it’s important that Canadians have a firm grasp on what is acceptable and what will get them into legal hot water, especially in these key areas:

Legal age to purchase and consume

All provinces and territories, except for Manitoba, have the same age to purchase and consume cannabis as they do alcohol. Criminal penalties for giving or selling cannabis to a person under the legal age can be sizable – ranging from fines to up to 14 years in jail in the most serious cases. Nearly everyone in New Brunswick knew the legal age in their province. But in Manitoba (the only province where the drinking age is 18 but the legal age for cannabis is 19), only 52 per cent got it right.

Smoking areas

The laws around smoking areas are different from province to province. Some provinces allow cannabis to be smoked anywhere tobacco is allowed, while others only allow consumption on private property. In Manitoba, where smoking cannabis is only permitted on private property, 86 per cent of respondents were aware of the laws. In Nova Scotia, where cannabis is allowed anywhere cigarettes are allowed, respondents scored only 38 per cent. You can be fined up to $2,000 for a smoking violation in Nova Scotia, so it is well worth knowing the law.

Possession limits

Possession limits are set at 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent across all provinces and territories. New Brunswickers had the strongest knowledge of possession limits, scoring 90 per cent. British Columbians, however, scored 43 per cent on questions about possession limits, and Manitobans scored only 34 per cent.

Possession over 30 grams carries serious consequences – a maximum sentence of up to five years in jail.

Story continues below advertisement


Statistics Canada reported that 646,000 Canadians tried cannabis for the first time in the first three months of 2019. But who is responsible for helping these people learn the law? The federal and provincial governments have significant roles to play, as do organizations working in this newly legal market, including employers, university, colleges, and cannabis retailers.

What role does the employer play? Recent research by the Conference Board of Canada shows that only 32 per cent of organizations said they would provide employees with education on cannabis. The report also noted that employees might be hesitant to ask their employer about cannabis because they “may not want to risk being associated with the … stereotypes that have been attributed to cannabis users.”


These laws are new for everyone. They are still developing, provincially specific and hard to figure out. Many don’t know where to look for information, but there are resources available to help. RCU has created a campaign called that summarizes key federal and provincial laws. Others need to take more action as well.

  • Employers should educate their employees on cannabis impairment and how it affects the workplace. They should also cover topics such as duty to disclose and duty to accommodate.
  • Cannabis retailers, having the most contact with cannabis consumers, can educate people on relevant laws at the checkout.
  • Colleges and universities can run campaigns on social media educating students on the rules for on and off campus. They can use resources like to supplement their education efforts.

Whether stakeholders are in or out of the cannabis industry, and whether they are for or against cannabis legalization, they all have an interest and a role to play in cannabis education. We’re all learning together, but we don’t have to do it alone.

Stay ahead in your career. We have a weekly Careers newsletter to give you guidance and tips on career management, leadership, business education and more. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the authors of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies