Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Newfoundland and Labrador

Update - August 24, 2017



The Federal Government has introduced legislation that will make the possession of cannabis legal in Newfoundland and Labrador and the rest of Canada by July 2018. 

Even though this is federal legislation, all provinces must still establish guidelines and make decisions related to issues such as where and when cannabis can be sold, to whom it can be sold, and how communities and residents will be protected from potential negative consequences including health concerns and drug-impaired driving.

The purpose of this questionnaire is to obtain your views on how the Provincial Government should approach the legalization of cannabis in several targeted areas. Your opinions will help inform decisions on this important topic. It should take you approximately 10-20 minutes, and your responses will be kept anonymous.



  • Cannabis: this includes marijuana (e.g., weed, pot), hashish, hash oil or any other products made from the cannabis plant but not synthetic cannabinoids (chemicals or substances used to mimic the effects of cannabis). While "marijuana" is the most common term for the dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant, the Federal Task force recommended, and the Federal Government encourages, using the term cannabis when engaging in a serious discussion of the goals and features of a new regulatory system for legal access.
  • "Using" cannabis: consuming cannabis in its dry form or when mixed or processed into another product such as an edible, a concentrate, including hashish, a liquid, lotion, or other product for non-medical purposes.
  • Non-medical purposes: means using cannabis for recreational use (e.g., for enjoyment, pleasure, amusement), socially, for spiritual, lifestyle and other similar non-medical uses.
  • Cannabis for medical purposes: Unlike non-medical purposes, cannabis for medical purposes is currently legal in Canada. To obtain cannabis for medical purposes, patients must receive a medical document from a healthcare practitioner and contact one of the 45 licensed medical cannabis producers in Canada to have the product mailed to their home.

Brief overview of Cannabis

Prevalence of Use: Canadians use cannabis at some of the highest rates in the world with 44.5% of Canadians surveyed having used non-medical cannabis ever in their lifetime; in Newfoundland and Labrador 37.9% of respondents reported having used in their lifetime. Although Newfoundland and Labrador’s average cannabis use is currently below the Canadian average, non-medical cannabis use among youth (age 15-19) in Newfoundland and Labrador is above the Canadian average (source Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Survey (CTADS).

Health Risks: Health risks associated with cannabis use include such harms as mental health (e.g. depression, social anxiety, suicidal behaviours, and schizophrenia), respiratory illness, and potential for addiction. These risks are increased with early use, frequent use, duration of use, and potency of product. Research suggests that cannabis use by those under the age of 25, while the brain is still developing, can result in a higher risk of addiction and higher risk of health impacts. However, the perception of risk, especially among youth is that harms associated with cannabis use is decreasing. Public education and research on the harms of use will be important as we move towards a regime where cannabis will be legal in Canada.

Criminal System: In 2014, cannabis possession offences in Canada accounted for 57,314 police-reported drug offences (more than half of all drug offences) and 22,223 of those resulted in charges. The majority of Canada’s illicit cannabis is produced domestically and is estimated to be a $7 Billion industry. Within Newfoundland and Labrador, since 2015, the province’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit has seized more than 700 pounds of cannabis with a street value of over $6,000,000.

Federal Government Objectives for legalizing non-medical cannabis

The Federal Government’s goals for legalizing, strictly regulating, and restricting access to cannabis are to:

  • keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth;
  • protect public health and public safety by establishing strict product safety and product quality requirements;
  • deter criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those operating outside the legal framework; and
  • reduce the burden on the criminal justice system.

To learn more about the current status of cannabis laws in Canada, and the work being done to legalize and regulate it, visit the Government of Canada’s online resource.

To read about the work of the Federal Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, visit their website.

Submissions for this online questionnaire will close on June 30, 2017.

Please do not include your name or information that could identify you. This information is being collected for the purpose of obtaining your views on how the Provincial Government should approach the legalization of cannabis. The authority for this collection comes from section 61(c) of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 2015. If you have any questions about the collection, use or disclosure of your personal information, please contact Blaine Edwards at 709-729-7007.

If you are unable to complete the online questionnaire, would like to make a written submission, or have questions on the legalization of cannabis in Newfoundland and Labrador you may contact the Provincial Government at:

Phone: 709-729-3103

Email: [email protected]


Re. Cannabis

Health and Community Services

P.O. Box 8700

1st Floor, West Block, Confederation Building

St. John's NL A1B 4J6