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Legalization of Cannabis: What Caregivers Need to Know

With legalization of cannabis being implemented across Canada, Kw'umut Lelum wants our families and caregivers to understand what this means to child safety and to the safeguarding of our children in care. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.


  • Cannabis becomes legal across Canada as of October 17, 2018.

  • The minimum age to possess, purchase, grow and consume cannabis in B.C. is 19 years old.

  • There is a ban on smoking or vaping cannabis in parks, playgrounds, and other public areas commonly frequented by children.

  • Cannabis will be sold exclusively at government-run stores, licensed private retailers, and the B.C. government’s online store.

  • Adults 19+ can grow up to four non-medical cannabis plants per household, with restrictions.


Under MCFD policy, foster parents, out-of-care care providers, sub-contracted family care home caregivers and prospective adoptive families are permitted to grow cannabis under certain conditions:

  • Up to four non-medical cannabis plants per household.

  • Cannabis plants cannot be grown in a space that is visible from a public place, nor can they be grown in homes that are licensed child care.

  • Cannabis plants are treated like alcohol, tobacco or medications and must be stored in such a manner that they are inaccessible to children or youth in the home.

Use of cannabis products in the homes of caregivers also must follow certain conditions:

  • Standards for Foster Homes state that neither smoking nor vaping can take place at any time in enclosed spaces where children would be exposed to it (including the caregiver’s home or vehicle)

  • Edible products containing cannabis are not legally available for purchase; if caregivers choose to make their own, then the products must be safely and securely stored so that they are inaccessible to children or youth in the home

Caregiver assessments for both in care and out of care placements will assess the use of cannabis and consider the effect on the well-being and safety of children and youth in care.


There is still much to learn about the long-term benefits, risks or impacts of cannabis. The First Nations Health Authority identifies the following health risks of non-medical cannabis use:

  • problems with thinking, memory or physical co-ordination

  • impaired perceptions or hallucinations

  • fatal and non-fatal injuries, including those from motor vehicle and boating accidents, due to impairment

  • mental health problems

  • dependence

  • chronic respiratory or lung problems

  • reproductive problems

  • health complications for pregnant and breastfeeding women


Contact your Le’lumilh worker directly, or contact Kw’umut Lelum at:


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