How Cannabis Laws in Quebec Affect Businesses

Current Legal State Of The Province

Quebec’s regulatory framework for legalized recreational cannabis is extremely restrictive (albeit evolving), particularly compared to other Canadian provinces. However, the main goal of the plan is to protect the security and the health of all Quebecers.

The Government of Quebec is responsible for regulating the distribution and sale of cannabis (pot/weed) and enforcing those regulations. The proposed regulations aim to reduce the risks and negative impacts on health and safety, and to reduce systemic cannabis-related crime.

As of late February 2018, the Quebec government is still working to pass its recreational cannabis bill, which lays out details about how the sale and distribution of legal pot is to unfold in the province, into law.

Minimum Age: Who Can Legally Access Marijuana in Quebec?

Under the new cannabis laws in Quebec, the legal age to buy, possess and consume marijuana in Quebec will be 18 — the same as the drinking age.

How is Cannabis Accessed? Private/Public Retail Stores

The Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQC), the province’s monopoly liquor-store chain will be overseeing marijuana distribution in Quebec. The SQC is an arm of the Quebec Alcohol Corporation (SAQ) and will be the SOLE DISTRIBUTOR and legal retailer for marijuana in Quebec once the drug is legalized. About 20 SAQ storefronts will open across the province, the only place where marijuana can be legally sold.

Members of the National Assembly are still studying Bill 157, but the province has already started moving forward with some aspects in preparation for the summer 2018, including striking tentative deals with six suppliers.

Online/ Website Sales

The Quebec government intends to manage online marijuana sales through the SAQ.

If you want to start an online cannabis business, consider opening a retail cannabis store in Saskatchewan or Manitoba, then open a website for that store. Only cannabis retail store licensees will be able to have online sales and only in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.


Quebec is missing out on entrepreneurial opportunities. If you are an entrepreneur interested in how to open a cannabis dispensary in Quebec, unfortunately, you’re out of luck! The new law gives the SAQ a monopoly on recreational cannabis when the federal government’s legalization on cannabis Quebec 2018 takes effect.


No one will be allowed to grow cannabis in Quebec for personal use. Any type of grow op is prohibited. Cannabis will also be banned to grow for commercial use, unless following the laws set out by the Quebec government. Fines would be imposed on those who contravene the ban on home-grown pot. For example, someone caught cultivating four or fewer plants in their home could be fined $250 to $750 for a first offence, with amounts doubled for subsequent offences.

Where Can Cannabis be Consumed?

Recreational cannabis can only be smoked in the same places as tobacco. Smoking will also be prohibited on university and Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) grounds.

There will be zero tolerance for marijuana-impaired driving — police officers will be able to ask for a saliva sample (currently, saliva testing has yet to be federally regulated), if they suspect someone is driving while high and will be able to suspend a driver’s license for 90 days if a sample is positive.

Possessing Cannabis

It is prohibited for an adult to possess, in a place other than a public place, more than 150 grams of dried cannabis.

How Sharp Business Plans Can Help You

If you have any questions about Quebec’s retailing of recreational cannabis or Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) or want more information on how we can help prepare a cannabis business plan for you, call us toll-free at +1 (800) 661-9842 and contact us today for a free consultation.