No smoking, and other rules to know about weed in your car
3 people have been charged in N.L. this week alone with improper storage of cannabis
Law enforcement, employers, suppliers and others have cautioned there will be a bit of a "learn as we go" reality when it comes to navigating issues related to cannabis now that it's legal.
One of those new issues arose this week: how do you bring weed along when travelling in your car?
This week, the Burin Peninsula RCMP said two people had been charged for not having cannabis properly sealed in their vehicle. A 21-year-old woman from Garnish and her passenger, a 20-year-old man from Marystown, faced a charge under the Cannabis Control Act.
These appeared to be among the first charges of its kind in Newfoundland and Labrador, based on media releases from police.
Another traffic stop a couple of days later, this time in Pasadena, saw a Little Rapids woman charged with having "open cannabis" in her car, according to the RCMP. She was also charged with buying the drug from someone other than a licensed retailer.
Skunk in the trunk
Cannabis has to be in its original packaging with an unbroken seal in order to be permitted in a car.
But what about when it's not a brand-new package?
As an example, you purchase weed from a licensed retailer. You drive home from the store with it, in its sealed package. You open it, smoke some of it, then put the rest away. Later, you're heading out to a friend's house and want to take those leftovers along, but the package has been opened and the seal has been broken.
In that case, it has to be in the trunk of your car or a rooftop carrier — something that makes it not readily available to people in the car. This is similar to rules around so-called open alcohol, or booze in which the original seal has been broken.
There is an exception — when you've paid to travel on a bus or in a taxi.
The exact wording in the Cannabis Control Act is, "A person shall not drive or have the care or control of a vehicle or a boat, whether it is in motion or not, with cannabis in the vehicle or boat unless ... the cannabis is in the possession of a passenger who is being transported, for compensation, in a bus or taxi."
And of course, you're not allowed to smoke or otherwise consume any cannabis inside a car, bus or taxi, regardless of whether it's moving or not. The only exception is if you're using that vehicle as a dwelling, like a motor home.
But even then, if you're on a private campground, you need permission from the property owner to smoke.