The legislation is just off the press and quite different from what was proposed by the Liberal government. One of the key changes from the previous framework is the “places of use”. In essence, the smoking of cannabis will be prohibited where smoking of tobacco is prohibited. The Liberal government had aligned cannabis consumption with the Liquor Licence Act. The other significant change is that retail sales will not be delivered through government stores, similar to the LCBO. Private retail stores will be licensed through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and in operation as early as April 2019.
Here are some highlights for your information:
Places of Use: Under the new federal and provincial (Ontario) legislation, people 19 years of age or older will be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis, or its equivalent in non-dried form and to grow no more than 4 cannabis plants in their residence.
•Smoking of cannabis will be prohibited in the same places where the smoking of tobacco is prohibited (e.g. enclosed public places, enclosed workplaces, and other specified places).
• Smoking of cannabis will be prohibited in vehicles and boats that are being driven or under a person’s care or control, subject to certain exceptions that will be prescribed by regulation.
Generally speaking, municipalities could pass by-laws further restricting where cannabis is used (e.g. in parks, marinas).
Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation: On October17th, the OCRC will be the exclusive on line retailer for legal cannabis in Ontario.
‒ Consumers 19 and older will be able to purchase cannabis via OCRC’s online retail platform. The OCRC will also be the exclusive wholesaler to future private retail stores.
‒ Online sales will be implemented in a socially responsible manner, including secure home delivery with age verification at the customer’s door, and no packages left unattended at the door.
Enabling Private Retail Stores: The government has introduced legislation to create a regulated licensing model and regulatory framework for private retail of cannabis in Ontario.
The model requires:
• Private retailers to be licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).
• The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC) will be the exclusive wholesaler and on line retailer of cannabis in the province.
Municipalities are required to pass a council resolution by January 22, 2019 to opt-out of retail stores, although municipalities that opt-out of cannabis retail stores would be given one opportunity to allow them to opt-in in the future, but municipalities that do not opt-out of stores by January 22nd, cannot opt-out of them at a later date.
The proposed licensing framework would not cap the total number of licenses or authorizations.
Store Operating Parameters & Distance Buffers: Additional store operating parameters (e.g. store format, security requirements, staff training requirements) will be established by regulation or by AGCO Registrar’s standards and requirements subject to additional consultation and before the AGCO begins accepting applications in December 2018.
A distance buffer between private cannabis retail stores and schools will be set through regulation in advance of December 2018 following further consultation with municipalities and key stakeholders. The distance of the buffer has not yet been established.
Municipal Order of Government’s responsibilities: The changes to the legislation on cannabis consumption are the responsibility of the Federal and Provincial Orders of Government. The only decisions that municipalities can make in relation to the legalization of cannabis are whether to opt-out of allowing private licensed retail stores and to consider if there are certain areas in the municipality where the use of cannabis should be restricted.
The discussion at Council regarding these two issues will occur in December/January. If you have comments regarding whether Westport should opt out of cannabis retail stores and/or if you have suggestions regarding any other areas in the Village where the use of cannabis should be restricted, please share them with me at 9195 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please refer to these two links for more detailed information:
• Moving Forward with Cannabis Retailing, Province of Ontario
• Bill 36