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Ontario unveils provincial cannabis legalization framework

September 13, 2017

The Ontario government recently released its provincial framework for managing the sale and use of marijuana. The framework includes several key components:

  • 80 stand-alone stores will open by July 1, 2019, with roughly 150 stores to be opened by 2020
  • Online distribution will be available across Ontario from July 2018 onward
  • Mandatory training will be required for all retail staff
  • Stores must comply with federal requirements that restrict advertising, do not permit products to be visible to youth, and require a behind-the-counter type of retail environment similar to how tobacco is now sold
  • The minimum age to use, purchase, and possess recreational cannabis will be 19
  • The use of recreational cannabis will be prohibited in public places, cars, and workplaces, and only allowed in private residences

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) will oversee the legal retail of cannabis in Ontario through new stand-alone cannabis stores and an online order service. This approach will ensure that there will be only one legal retail distributor for cannabis in Ontario, and that alcohol and cannabis are not sold alongside each other. Ontario has committed to working closely with municipalities to consider community priorities when choosing store locations (e.g. proximity to schools).

The province has also stated that illicit cannabis dispensaries are not and will not be legal retailers. Ontario will pursue a coordinated and proactive enforcement strategy, working with municipalities, local police services, the Ontario Provincial Police, and the federal government to help shut down these illegal operations.

Information on AUMA’s advocacy efforts can be found on the Marijuana Production and Regulation – Municipal Resources page on the AUMA website.

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