Can you smoke in your car or bring pot to work? 10 burning questions about Ontario's pot plan

The Ontario government has announced a framework to manage the sale and use of marijuana, which includes an online ordering service and roughly 150 stand-alone stores.

Province's framework includes online ordering, 150 stand-alone stores

Friday's announcement prompted plenty of questions about what will be allowed in Ontario when pot is legalized across the country in 2018. (CBC News)

​The province's polarizing pot plan means Ontario residents will soon be able to buy cannabis in stores, shop for it online, and smoke in the comfort of their own homes.

But does that mean people can buy pot brownies, too? Or "hot box" their cars? Or sneakily order online while underage?

Friday's announcement prompted plenty of questions about what will be allowed when pot is legalized across the country in 2018, and CBC Toronto rounded up some of the answers.

Where will people be able to buy legal pot?

People will be able to buy cannabis in a couple of different ways, including online distribution starting in July 2018.

The province also plans to open 80 stand-alone stores by July 1, 2019, with roughly 150 opened by 2020. 

Will the new pot shops be like the LCBO, but for weed?

The cannabis stores will operate with the same retailing standards that apply to alcohol, as well as federal requirements for cannabis sales, according to the ministry. 

That means Ontario will not permit products to be visible to youth and will require a behind-the-counter retail environment similar to how cigarettes are sold. There will also be no self-service — so picture an outlet more like the Beer Store, not the LCBO.

And for those hoping to buy pot at the LCBO itself, don't hold your breath: Cannabis and alcohol will not be sold alongside each other.

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi (left), Finance Minister Charles Sousa (centre), and Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (right) unveiled the plan on Friday. (CBC News)

How old will people need to be to buy and use cannabis?

19-years-old. According to the plan, that's the proposed minimum age to use, purchase and possess recreational cannabis in Ontario, giving police the power to confiscate small amounts of pot from young people.

The province says their approach will focus on "prevention, diversion, and harm reduction," rather than bringing youth into contact with the justice system.

How will the government prevent minors from buying online?

Similar to alcohol sales, online cannabis sales would require ID checks, signatures upon delivery and no packages would be left unattended at someone's door.

How much cannabis will people be allowed to carry?

Under the federal proposal, adults would be allowed to have up to 30 grams of dried legal cannabis, while people under 18 could have up to five grams.

But again, in Ontario, the province's plan will prohibit anyone under 19 from possessing or consuming recreational cannabis, allowing police to confiscate small amounts despite the federal framework.

Once people buy pot, where can they smoke it?

Consuming pot will only be allowed in one place: Private residences.

The plan will prohibit cannabis use in public spaces, cars and workplaces, which means you won't be able to smoke in a park, on a patio, or at your desk.

If you're hoping to smoke in a park, don't hold your breath. Consuming pot will only be allowed in one place: private residences. (David Horemans/CBC)

Wait a second. What about my own backyard?

It's your property, so yes. "You're not allowed to have a beer and walk on the sidewalk, but you can have a beer in your backyard; that'll be the case for cannabis," said Attorney General Yasir Naqvi at Friday's news conference.

Will edibles be available for purchase?

Pot brownies and cannabis gummies won't be sold — at least not yet. First, the federal government will have to figure out product regulations.

So what about all those dispensaries that are open right now?

Naqvi didn't mince words: Those illegal pot retailers will be shut down. The province, he said, is pursuing a co-ordinated strategy with local police forces, the OPP and the federal government.

"If you operate one of these facilities, consider yourself on notice," Naqvi said.

Will people be able to order marijuana from outside the province?

Definitely not. When asked about this following Friday's news conference, government officials gave a clear "no."


Lauren Pelley

Senior Health & Medical Reporter

Lauren Pelley covers health and medical science for CBC News, including the global spread of infectious diseases, Canadian health policy, pandemic preparedness, and the crucial intersection between human health and climate change. Two-time RNAO Media Award winner for in-depth health reporting in 2020 and 2022. Contact her at: