The summer months are perfect for exploring the many lakes in British Columbia or taking to the ocean. Though boating is a relaxing pastime, it can also be dangerous when under the influence. With recreational marijuana becoming more widely legal, understanding cannabis and boating laws is critical when on the water.
Reviewing Marijuana Laws in BC
The legalization of cannabis does not mean everyone and anyone can use it at any time. Like alcohol, marijuana is a drug and should be used with caution.
The legal age to buy and use cannabis is nineteen in British Columbia. These purchases should only be made in distribution shops where federally-licensed producers prepare and package the cannabis. Those of age should only possess 30 grams of non-medical cannabis when in public and 1,000 grams when at home or in a non-public place.
Important Cannabis and Boating Laws
When boating, you must follow the same laws that regulate cannabis use and driving a vehicle.
Driving a Boat
Many boat owners in British Columbia have been warned about the dangers of drugged driving. Driving a boat under the influence of cannabis is just as dangerous as driving an automobile while high. Though there are many medical reasons to use cannabis, it still fogs your vision and impacts your brain when behind the wheel of a boat. Everyone is impacted differently by marijuana, but everyone will be treated the same if pulled over for drugged driving while on a boat.
Bodies of Water
Canada shares many bodies of water with other countries. This being said, it can be difficult to decipher where in the lake or ocean you are when boating. Add cannabis into the mix and keeping track of that location often becomes even more difficult. It’s important to know which coastlines are under federal jurisdiction. Take the United States for example. If you were to travel the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington from Canada, marijuana is legal, but possessing while crossing the border is a crime. Crossing into U.S. territory on a boat–and being under the influence of cannabis–could lead to a lot of legal trouble.
Though cannabis is legal to use through a vape in public spaces, it doesn’t mean all public spaces allow it. Understanding public use marijuana laws in B.C. is important since many boat trips lead to a public dock. If there is a playground or school near that docking site, cannabis is prohibited. Other public places where marijuana is prohibited include public swimming pools, skate parks, and sports fields. Use of cannabis is also not allowed within six meters of transit stations, ferry docks, workplaces, and anywhere that could have an open window or air intake.