Cannabis may be legal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get into trouble over it anymore- take this unlucky man from Ontario, who’s facing several cannabis-related fines.
What were his crimes?
The 26 year-old is facing two fines for “driving a vehicle with cannabis readily available” AND “unlawfully purchasing cannabis”, according to Global News.
The two tickets are going to cost him $215 and $180, respectively, which adds up to $395!
That’s a lot of money for just having some cannabis in his car- 27 grams to be exact- and even though it puts him under the 30 gram limit, the cannabis was seized and he was charged anyways.
Although it hasn’t been specified, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that the man was carrying 27 grams of cannabis in the form of dried flower. For those not familiar with dried cannabis flower, having cannabis in that form within arm’s reach isn’t the same as having an opened can of beer on the seat beside you- although it’s being treated by police as if it were. But cannabis is not that dangerous!
Here’s why. You can drive with alcohol within arm’s reach as long as the container is unopened, but when it comes to consuming cannabis, it’s not as easy as cracking open a beer- dried flower needs to be combusted (usually in a joint, bong, or pipe) in order to be enjoyed, and the fact that Global News and Napanee Today make no mention of the man smoking while driving only highlights the absurdity when it comes to our cannabis laws.
But the man was charged for more than just having the cannabis within arm’s reach (perhaps in the glovebox or the driver side door)- he bought it from an illegal source, and he (allegedly) admitted that to police when questioned.
That illegal source was a dispensary located on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, and the legality of dispensaries on First Nations land is a point of contention between Indigenous communities and provincial governments.
According to the Ontario government, all dispensaries currently operating right now are illegal, and brick-and-mortar cannabis stores will remain illegal until at least April 2019- including the ones on First Nations land.
Which means that until then, the government-run online portal is the only legal option to obtain cannabis in Ontario.
But First Nations communities like Tyendinaga argue that “growing cannabis is an important part of Indigenous culture and that Indigenous communities should be able to self-govern their pot sales”, according to Global News.
How to avoid those fines
Kirk Tousaw, a consultant at Canopy Growth Corp., put it succinctly in a Facebook post: Just another story in Tyendinaga Territory
A dispensary in the Tyendinaga Territory made headlines back in September over memorable security cam footage that saw a brave budtender battle 3 would-be burglars with nothing but a bong.