Cannabis legalization

Cannabis is legal for recreational and medicinal use under the federal Cannabis Act. In Ontario, the Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, (2017) governs production, distribution, sale, consumption and possession of cannabis, including:

  • Where and when cannabis can and cannot be used
  • Recreational cannabis sales
  • How much you are permitted to carry
  • Rules for the workplace
  • Growing cannabis

As of December 17, 2018, Council has decided to opt in to cannabis retail storefronts. We continue to work with the Alcohol Gaming Commission of Ontario and our cannabis working group with a focus on public health, protection of youth and preventing illegal activity.

Stay tuned for further engagement opportunities.


  • Cannabis legalization: October 17, 2018. Cannabis is legal to buy, use, possess and grow.
  • Engagement: November 5 to 15, 2018 .We engaged residents using a statistically valid telephone survey and an online survey. Engagement results were summarized in the report to Council.
    Read the cannabis report and engagement results
  • Report to Council: Winter 2018 to 2019. On December 17, 2018, Council opted in to cannabis retail storefronts in the City of Guelph. Council has also directed staff to:
    • Provide the Alcohol Gaming Commission of Ontario with feedback on storefront applications within 150 metres of registered daycares, youth centres, playgrounds and other sensitive areas in the community.
    • Engage with the community on the need for a bylaw that would expand restrictions for where cannabis can be used beyond the current restrictions under the Smoke Free Ontario Act

    Council Report

  • Engagement: September 30 to October 13, 2019. The next phase of engagement explores expanding smoking restrictions beyond the Smoke Free Ontario Act through the Smoking and Drinking Regulations survey.
  • Launch of the provincial private retail model for cannabis: April 1, 2019: The Province of Ontario private retail model launches April 1, 2019. This framework helps municipalities work with potential business owners who wish to open a cannabis retail store.


Frequently asked questions

What is the age restriction for cannabis?

In Ontario, you need to be 19 years of age or older to buy, use, possess and/or grow recreational cannabis.

What is the maximum amount I can carry?

If you are 19 years or older, you are able to carry up to 30 grams (one ounce) of dried recreational cannabis in public.

Can I grow it in my home? What are the restrictions?

Yes, you can grow your own using Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) seeds. You will be able to grow a maximum of four plants per residence.

Where can I purchase cannabis?

As of October 17, 2018, you can start purchasing cannabis online through the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS). Provincially-licensed, privately owned retail stores within municipalities that do not opt out of the program can start operating after April 1, 2019.

Where you can smoke and vape cannabis?

  • Private residences (not including residences that are also workplaces such as retirement homes)
  • Many outdoor public places such as sidewalks and parks
  • Designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns
  • Residential vehicles and boats that meet certain criteria (e.g. have permanent sleeping accommodations and cooking facilities, and are parked or anchored)
  • Scientific research and testing facilities (if the cannabis use is for scientific research and testing purposes)
  • Controlled areas in:
    • long-term care homes
    • certain retirement homes
    • residential hospices
    • provincially-funded supportive housing
    • designated psychiatric facilities or veterans’ facilities

Additional restrictions on smoking and vaping may exist in municipal bylaws, lease agreements, and the policies of employers and property owners.

Where can you not smoke and vape cannabis?


You would not be able to smoke or vape cannabis in:

  • Indoor common areas in condos, apartment buildings and university/college residences
  • Enclosed public places and enclosed workplaces
  • Non-designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns

Schools and places where children gather

You would not be able to smoke or vape cannabis:

  • at school, on school grounds, and all public areas within 20 metres of these grounds
  • on children’s playgrounds and public areas within 20 metres of playgrounds
  • in child care centres, or where an early years program is provided
  • in places where home childcare is provided, even if children aren’t present

Hospitals, hospices, care homes and other facilities

You would not be able to smoke or vape cannabis:

  • within 9 metres from the entrance or exit of hospitals (public/private), psychiatric facilities, long-term care homes, independent health facilities
  • on outdoor grounds of hospitals (public/private) and psychiatric facilities
  • in non-controlled areas in long-term care homes, certain retirement homes, provincially-funded supportive housing, designated psychiatric or veterans’ facilities, and residential hospices

Publicly owned spaces

You would not be able to smoke or vape cannabis in publicly-owned sports fields (not including golf courses), nearby spectator areas and public areas within 20 metres of these areas.

Vehicles and boats

You would not be able to consume cannabis (smoking, vaping, eating) in a vehicle or boat that is being driven or is at risk of being put into motion.

Other outdoor areas

You would not be able to smoke or vape cannabis:

  • in restaurants and on bar patios and public areas within 9 metres of a patio
  • on outdoor grounds of specified Ontario government office buildings
  • in reserved seating areas at outdoor sports and entertainment locations
  • grounds of community recreational facilities, and public areas within 20 metres of those grounds
  • in sheltered outdoor areas with a roof and more than two walls which the public or employees frequent, or are invited to (e.g. a bus shelter)

Who will be responsible for enforcing the smoking cannabis?

City of Guelph Bylaw Compliance Officers and the Guelph Wellington Dufferin Public Health will be responsible for enforcement related to the smoking of cannabis.

The Guelph Police Service will be responsible for enforcement of all regulations including driving, underage consumption and exceeding limits on growing and carrying.

Who can I call to report illegal behaviour?

Non-emergencies can be reported to the Guelph Police Service at 519-824-1212.

Emergency situations, such as impaired driving, can be reported by 911.

For more information

Scott Green, Manager Corporate and Community Safety
Operations Department
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3475