Ontario government reveals revised cannabis sales system

Published: August 30, 2018

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Ontario has detailed its retail plans for marijuana that will take effect once the federal government’s Cannabis Act is implemented this October. The new law will allow Canadians to consumer marijuana recreationally and purchase the drug.

In a statement, Ontario says it will allow cannabis to be sold online as soon as the Cannabis Act is started, but pot will not be available in private physical retail stores until early in 2019. In an announcement on Monday, the new conservative government said it is reversing plans implemented by the former Liberal government to allow cannabis to be sold through publicly owned retailers.

The Progressive Conservatives defeated the Liberal’s in June’s provincial elections and says its plans put a focus on safety. However, some critics say the new rules could be hard to regulate.

Conservatives say the new online retail model will be “tightly regulated” from Oct. 17, when Cannabis becomes legal. Private retail sales will not be allowed until after April 1, 2019. Online sales will be conducted through a new government agency called the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS).

“We will be ready to put in place a safe, legal system for cannabis retail that will protect consumers,” said Attorney General Caroline Mulroney. “We will be ready to work alongside municipalities, law enforcement and Indigenous communities to combat organized crime and the illegal market.”

The legal age for cannabis purchases will remain at 19, and consumption will only be allowed in a private residence, although private outdoor spaces are also allowed. Adults are not allowed to possess more than 30 grams of marijuana for recreational purposes.

“Our message to kids, and all Ontarians, is clear,” she said. “Despite the upcoming legalization of recreational cannabis use for responsible adults, it is still a drug that poses risks to health and safety.”