Where You Are Actually Allowed To Smoke Weed In Ottawa


Just finished work and want to light up that spliff on your way home? Make sure you know where you are allowed to smoke weed in Ottawa before you get hit with that fine.

We don’t know if it’s just us that hasn’t dug into this deeper yet, but we caught ourselves wondering recently, “Where can we smoke weed in Ottawa without getting busted?” We tried looking it up days leading up to legalization, but articles like “Where will people be allowed to smoke pot in Ottawa? It's complicated” were extremely discouraging and potentially misleading.

Well, the golden rule in Ontario seems to be: ...Cannabis may be consumed anywhere tobacco products can be consumed, but not in motor vehicles and boats.

Ok got it. So what about Ottawa specifically?

Living in a government city obviously adds layers of restrictions to activities us residents have to live with. It gets even more complicated because we end up dealing with three levels of government.

Even our father-figure-like mayor Jim Watson said in October, “I believe that cannabis should be treated like alcohol and it should not be consumed in open, public spaces.” During this time, there was a giant push to ban smoking on sidewalks in the 613...wow.

Well according to the City of Ottawa’s website, Jim didn’t get his wish. You ARE allowed to smoke weed in open, public spaces, however there are obviously a few restrictions.

In Ottawa, smoking and vaping cannabis is not allowed:

  • On City property, such as

    • City parks and beaches

    • Arenas

    • Recreational centres

    • Pools

    • Transit stations

    • Buses

  • In enclosed public places, such as:

    • Inside businesses

    • Hospitals

    • Restaurants

  • In enclosed workplaces

  • In common areas of apartment buildings, condominiums, and college and university residences, such as hallways, elevators, laundry rooms and entertainment rooms

  • At and near schools (super vague in our opinion*)

  • On hospital grounds

  • At child-care centres

  • In and near children’s playgrounds

  • On and near restaurant or bar patios

The most interesting loophole for pot smokers in Ottawa is that you ARE allowed to smoke on National Capital Commission (NCC) property. That means Confederation Park, Major’s Hill Park (that’s where us at Smallworld lit up on October 17) and even The Canal. Be aware, these rules are subject to change when certain events are hosted on those properties.

Confederation Park, Downtown Ottawa

Confederation Park, Downtown Ottawa

In October, Canada became a trailblazing country for legalizing recreational cannabis use. It will take some time for the ones who are ultimately against it to start to understand what it is and how overall, it’s harmless to consume.

In terms of purchasing cannabis at stores and not just online, April 1 is when legal dispensaries can open their doors in Ontario. Ottawa is projected to get its first one on Wellington Street West. Stay tuned for how that rolls out.


Jelani Lewis