Cannabis in the Town of Pelham

What is legal in Canada?

Cannabis can be legally produced and used in Canada for medical and recreational purposes.

In 2018, the federal government passed the Cannabis Act, which sets the framework to legally produce, distribute, possess and sell cannabis in Canada.  In September 2022, the government appointed an independent expert panel to conduct a legislative review of the Cannabis Act, its administration and its operation. 

The final report of the review panel was released in March 2024.  The report makes 54 recommendations in several areas such as reducing cannabis use by youth, risk mitigation for high-potency products, packaging and labelling, engagement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, improved administration and regulation of the legal cannabis regime, displacement of the illicit market, improved medical access, further cannabis-related research and monitoring, and periodic legislative reviews.  The government will review the report and decide which recommendations to implement.


Federal, provincial and municipal governments all have an important role to play in regulating the production and use of cannabis.

cannabis growing in a greenhouse
Cannabis Production
Regulations under the Cannabis Act provide the rules and requirements for producing cannabis and industrial hemp.  As set out in the Cannabis Regulations, cannabis producers must have a federal licence issued by Health Canada to cultivate, process and sell cannabis.  The Industrial Hemp Regulations have similar rules for producers of industrial hemp, which is cannabis with a prescribed maximum level of THC.
Vial with cannabis leaf image on it held in front of a medical professional
Medical Cannabis
The Cannabis Regulations govern access to cannabis for medical purposes.  Patients authorized by a health care provider to access medical cannabis may buy it from a federally or provincially licensed seller, register with Health Canada to grow their own cannabis, or register with Health Canada to designate a person to grow it for them.  Patients may store cannabis at home and may possess a limited amount in public.
cannabis plants
Recreational Cannabis

The Cannabis Act allows adults to possess limited amounts of legal cannabis, including cannabis edible products, and to grow up to four cannabis plants per residence for personal use. 

The provincial government regulates the sale and use of recreational cannabis. 

The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act, 2017 and Cannabis Licence Act, 2018 govern online and retail sales.  The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation has a monopoly over online sales and is the exclusive supplier for private retail stores, which must be provincially licensed.  Retail stores are also regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)

The Cannabis Licence Act, 2018 gave municipalities a one-time opportunity to opt out of having cannabis retail stores within their boundaries.  Pelham and 65 other municipalities in Ontario opted out, which prevents the establishment of cannabis retail stores in those communities.

The Cannabis Control Act, 2017 and Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 set out rules for recreational cannabis use.  Users must be at least 19 years old.  Cannabis use is generally permitted in the same places as tobacco use, including outdoor public spaces.  However, Niagara Regional By-law No. 112-2013 imposes additional restrictions on where cannabis can be smoked or vaped in local area municipalities, including Pelham. 


Does Pelham regulate cannabis production?

Yes! Pelham has implemented several tools and strategies to regulate cannabis production within its boundaries and to respond to resident concerns about cannabis operations.

In October 2018, Pelham passed an interim control by-law that restricted all cannabis-related land use for one year so Pelham could review and develop its land use policies and regulations for cannabis-related land use.  In September 2019, Pelham extended the interim control by-law to mid-July 2020. 

In the spring of 2019, an advisory committee known as the Cannabis Control Committee (CCC) was formed to provide advice to Council in relation to land use impacts of cannabis production facilities in Pelham.  The CCC completed its mandate in the fall of 2022 and delivered a closing memorandum to Council in August 2022

In March 2020, Council passed By-law No. 4202 (2020), the Odorous Industries Nuisance By-law, which prohibited cannabis facilities from causing adverse effects or public nuisances as defined in the by-law.  In early 2021, two cannabis producers filed court proceedings to quash the Odorous Industries Nuisance By-law, which are still pending.  Pelham has and will continue to enforce this by-law while these proceedings are ongoing. 

In July 2020, Council approved amendments to the Official Plan and Zoning By-law to regulate cannabis and industrial hemp cultivation in Pelham.  The changes were intended to mitigate adverse effects associated with cannabis production, including odour, through setbacks and other land use controls.  Three cannabis producers appealed the amendments to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT), which conducted a multi-day hearing in 2022.

On August 23, 2022, the OLT issued an Interim Decision that dismissed one appeal, confirmed that another appeal had been withdrawn, and approving a settlement of the third appeal.  The Interim Order required the cannabis producer to provide odour management documentation before a Final Order was issued to confirm the settlement.  In January 2024, the OLT issued a Memorandum of Decision that requires the cannabis producer to satisfy the conditions of the Interim Order by the end of May 2024.

Pelham also has a Site Plan Control By-law that requires site plan control for indoor cannabis and industrial hemp uses.

Does Pelham regulate recreational cannabis use?

Yes!  Niagara Regional By-law No. 112-2013 applies in Pelham and prohibits cannabis use on all municipal property other than roads and sidewalks, and in outdoor areas within nine metres of the entrance to or exit from all public buildings.

What if I have a complaint?

Pelham conducts regular air quality odour testing in relation to cannabis production facilities to monitor compliance with the Odorous Industries Nuisance By-law.  To submit an inquiry or concern about cannabis odour in Pelham, you must complete a Public Service Request (PSR).  Please click below to access the PSR system.

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The federal Cannabis Regulations require cannabis producers to equip their buildings with a system to prevent odours from escaping their facilities.  You are strongly urged to report odour concerns to Health Canada using the online Cannabis Reporting Form.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) also has jurisdiction to address complaints about odour and light emissions from agricultural facilities.  You can report agricultural nuisance concerns to OMAFRA by email at

OMAFRA also supports the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board, which makes decisions about normal farm practices under the Farming and Food Protection Act, 1998.  You can contact the Board by email at    

Complaints or concerns about public safety or illegal activity should be directed to the Niagara Regional Police Service.


Where can I find further information?

Health Canada Cannabis Website:

Ontario Cannabis Website:

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