The Ontario government has released the latest update to its cannabis regulations for private retail sales, and revealed the date they’ll begin taking licensing applications.
The aim of the new rules is to “protect children and youth, keep communities and roads safe, and combat the illegal market,” according to the province.
The province says the update is the result of widespread consultations with the people of Ontario and “provide clarity for a private recreational cannabis store system that will begin April 1, 2019, under the close oversight of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).”
“The purpose of these regulations is to keep kids safe and to ensure all people operating in this tightly-regulated retail system behave with integrity, honesty, and in the public interest,” said Attorney General Caroline Mulroney. “The application process for private cannabis retail store licences will begin on December 17, 2018, and we will be ready with laws and regulations to protect Ontario’s youth and to combat the criminal market in response to the federal government’s legalization of cannabis.”
The new regulations established by the Ontario Government include:
- Retailers will not be permitted to allow anyone under the age of 19 to enter their stores. This approach and other regulations were developed to address the risk of youth exposure to the cannabis retail market.
- The regulations establish a minimum distance of 150 metres between cannabis retail stores and schools, including private and federally-funded First Nation schools off-reserve.
- Illegal cannabis retailers who were operating after October 17, 2018, are not eligible for Ontario cannabis sales licenses.
- Licences will not be issued to any individual or organization who has an association with organized crime.
- Those applying for an operator licence must demonstrate their tax compliance status to show that they are in good standing with the government.
- All private recreational cannabis retail storefronts to be stand-alone stores only.
- Individuals with a store authorization, cannabis retail managers and all retail employees will be required to complete the approved training to ensure that any individual who works in the retail market is trained in the responsible sale of cannabis.
- Private retail recreational cannabis stores will be permitted to open between 9:00 am and 11:00 pm on any day.
- A limit of 75 stores per operator has been set.
The government will also be providing $40 million over two years to help municipalities with the implementation of recreational cannabis legalization.
These changes come after the Ford government chose to switch from the public-only cannabis retail system, put in place by Kathleen Wynne. Currently, the only place to buy legal cannabis in Ontario is through the Ontario Cannabis Store.