You’ve seen it in the news, you’ve heard it from your friends, and that one judgy aunt who won’t stop talking about it:

As of tomorrow, Canada will become the largest country in the world to legalize recreational cannabis.

But realistically, what does that mean for you, specifically here on Vancouver Island where people have been lighting up for years without any real repercussions?

For one thing, tighter laws means that legally, the medical marijuana dispensaries that have been operating in the city have to shut down if they want to obtain a license from the province, according to B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

The following cannabis stores in Victoria have opted to remain open in spite of the new rules:

  • Lotusland Cannabis Club
  • Leaf Compassion Cannabis Dispensary
  • Trees – Island Grown
  • Burnside Dispensary
  • Ocean Grown


But if you’re a stickler for the rules, there is only one place to get legal recreational cannabis in town: the internet.

For those who are 19 years and older, an online sales system through the BC Liquor Distribution Branch’s website will be put in place on October 17th.

The only brick-and-mortar store that will be ready in time for legalization is a BC Cannabis Stores outlet in Kamloops.

The province is currently still reviewing 173 paid applications for a retail store licence that have been sent in.

Where to smoke

The province’s new laws allow people to smoke or vape cannabis wherever tobacco smoking is permitted.

So indoor public places, playgrounds, schoolyards, vehicles, hospitals, parks (that is not a campsite), bus shelters and patios are off limits, but there still are some options: sidewalks (as long as they’re not adjacent to a school), balconies, designated hotel rooms and private property are a few.

Landlords will be allowed to include a ban on cannabis smoking on their property in rental agreements post October 17th.

Smoking is also banned on all forms of public transportation in the city. That includes the ferry, but you can bring your weed on board and smoke it once you’ve reached your destination and are in a location where smoking is allowed.

And you can take up to one ounce, or 30 grams, in your carry-on or checked baggage while travelling on a domestic flight.

But just remember that while you are welcome to bring some B.C. Bud with you across the country, you still can’t take it on flights that leave Canada, even if your destination has legalized cannabis as well (like Colorado in the U.S.).

Click here to read all about our province’s new Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.

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