On Monday, August 14, 2018, The Ontario Government announced that recreational cannabis will be sold online in Ontario when legalized this fall, and in private retail stores in early 2019. This announcement from the new Progressive Conservative government marks a stark change from the previous Liberal Government’s former plan to sell cannabis in government-run cannabis shops, starting with 40 in 2018.
Finance Minister Vic Fedeli and Attorney General Caroline Mulroney shared the details of the government’s plan during a news conference in Toronto Monday afternoon.
Below is a summary of the information :
• After cannabis legalization on Oct. 17, the Ontario government says it will create an online platform and a private retail model for cannabis by April 1, 2019.
• Under the new plan, the OCS will still oversee operating online sales of cannabis and acting as a wholesaler that distributes products to the privately-run stores
• Consumers who are 19 or older will be able to purchase cannabis on an online platform provided by the Ontario Cannabis Store.
• The OCS online channel will include a verification system for home delivery of cannabis products.
• Online purchase will be limited to 30 grams to comply with the federal government’s possession limit.
• The OCS website will provide a selection of dried cannabis, cannabis oil-based products, cannabis seeds and accessories.
• Private retailers will have to follow a series of provincial rules, such as only selling cannabis to those 19 or older.
• There is a maximum fine of $250,000 and/or up to two years in prison for first convictions for those who sell or distribute cannabis illegally, or those who allow their property to be used to sell or distribute illegal cannabis.
• There is a maximum fine of $1 millin for corporations that sell or distribute cannabis illegally or allow their property to be used to sell or distribute illegal cannabis.
• An “official Ontario Cannabis retailer seal” is being proposed to help customers easily identified official sellers of cannabis
• As of July 1, 2018, Ontario will have tougher drug-impaired driving laws, including a “zero tolerance for young and novice drivers and commercial drivers.”
• The provincial government will provide $40 million to municipalities over two years to help with costs, such as law enforcement, incurred with the legalization of recreational marijuana.
• Municipalities will also have “a one-time window” where they can opt out of permitting physical cannabis retail stores within their boundaries.
• The provincial government says there will be consultations with municipalities, Indigenous communities, law enforcement, public health advocates, businesses and consumer groups and other provinces.
• Ontario is one of the last provinces to announce a model for cannabis sales as Canada becomes the first Group of Seven country to legalize recreational use nationally. Alberta is approving privately run stores while Quebec plans to sell through its government-run alcohol agency.
MMJ Canada is pleased to see the Ontario Government allowing for a private sector market and is looking forward to working with the Ontario Government in establishing guidelines for brick and mortar retail storefronts, in order to continue to provide our patients with safe access to quality medicine.