Happy 420 day everyone. For those not in the know, 420 is what all the kids these day call marijuana (or more commonly called “l’herbe” in Montreal). While once upon a time, our southern neighbors wrote films about how a single puff of the wacky weed leads to madness and criminal behavior (see HERE, HERE, and HERE), times have changed. Many U.S. states have de-criminalized or partially decrimialized its use, while others have legalized it (the city of Portland, Washington State, and Colorado). Check out the wiki page if you want to know more. Legalization has created opportunities for the enterprising including weed dispensing machines. Unfortunately, legalization undoubtedly will result in more embarrassing pot kitsch.
At the moment, Canada’s stance is ambiguous. Medical marijuana is decriminalized… kinda, sorta. A new federal law took effect April 1 2014 in regards to doctor’s role in prescribing medical marijuana, but the media consensus is that the new law is unclear. Health Canada clarifies on its website that marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine.
In Montreal, the situation can be summed up as this: marijuana is not legal. Like other substances on Schedule II (the schedules list controlled drugs and substances) there are punishments outlined in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act like jail time and fines, depending on the amount and whether it is a first offense. There is currently a Federal government task force underway to evaluate if marijuana should be legalized. Furthermore, according to Radio Canada, less than 2% of people who use banned substances report being questioned by the police. Anecdotal reports are that those caught carrying small amounts for personal use generally face nothing more serious than confiscation, and at worst, a fine. Remember, the law gives police discretion. Even though they are used infrequently, jail time and fines outlined in Canada’s criminal code are possible. From time to time, there are major busts by the RCMP on growhouses, especially in the suburbs.
According to marijuana websites, Montreal is regarded as a city where it’s easy to obtain weed for recreational purposes. Marijuana Travels.com ranks the city tolerance at 8 out of 10 (where 10 = legal). Those who are in search of a source should ask around. Everyone seems to know someone who knows someone (ask enough people, and you get Kevin Bacon). In a pinch, the Mail Order Marijuana website claims it will ship its products from BC to anywhere in Canada.
Prices for marijuana, again citing quotes from MarijuanaTravels.com are around $166 for an ounce of high quality (but going as high as $230), $139 for an ounce of medium quality, and $100 for an ounce of low quality (these amounts come from their stats on April 13-17, 2014). A gram goes for around $10, but a 2.5 gram back is usually around $25-30.
According to users of We Be High, the best places to score are around the major metro stations, Mont Royal, Berri-UQAM, and walking around on St. Catherine or St. Denis. Just wander around the Sunday tam tams and use your nose.
Surprisingly, the city’s only “commercial” space to use Marijuana is Club Compassion, intended for users who require marijuana for medical purposes, as prescribed by a doctor. Utopia (159 Duluth E) focuses primarily on selling stuff to smoke with.
Prior to December 2016, there were no cannabis cafés in the city. Times are changing with the arrival of the chain Cannabis Culture. Eight stores opened in the city on December 15, and two more will open before the end of 2016. The stores sell to anyone aged 19 and over. Medical reasons are not required. The new stores are located at the following places:
- 1863 Rue Amherst
- 1412 Pie IX Blvd
- 8870 St Michel Blvd.
- 7130 ST Laurent Blvd
- 2200 Avenue de Mt. Royal E
- 3804 St. Laurent Blvd.
- 1431B Rue Bishop
- 4961 Chemin Queen Mary
Guess there are a few less empty store fronts in the city now. The future of these dispensaries is uncertain since they are technically illegal. In typical Montreal fashion, they will probably be ignored until someone needs to make money over a crackdown.
While BC and Toronto may have more accessible places to get an all-natural high, Montreal does boast the best known food to go with a little green: Poutine.
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