Marijuana Laws in Ontario

weedsmart_image_ontario cannabis store weedsmart

As the start of Bill C-45 is approaching and every province decide specific details related to sales and management, there are some provinces that are still trying to manage this deal. Previously, we explained the British Columbia situation, now it’s the time for Ontario.

Current situation in Ontario

On September 27th, the Ontario’s government published the first draft of new recreational cannabis legislation.

According to The Ministry of the Attorney General: When it’s legal, people 19 and over will be able to purchase cannabis online through the Ontario Cannabis Store. Consumers will be required to verify their age to accept delivery and no packages will be left unattended at the door.

Ontario Cannabis Store

Important details in Ontario:

  • You will be able to purchase up to 30 grams (about one ounce) of dried recreational cannabis at one time for personal use.
  • You won’t be able to consume cannabis (smoking, vaping, eating) in a vehicle or boat that is being driven or is at risk of being put into motion.
  • You will be able to grow up to four plants per residence (not per person).
  • Consuming recreational cannabis in the workplace is illegal and will continue to be after legalization on October 17th, 2018.

Some key results from a survey used by Ontario government to create the draft:

  • 86% of people said they support a minimum age of 19
  • 74% believe there should be restrictions on where cannabis can be consumed
  • 61% of respondents agreed that drug-impaired driving penalties should be stricter
  • 69% believe that keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth is important

After October 17th 2018, the Ontario Cannabis Store website will be the only legal option for purchasing recreational cannabis.

If the legislation introduced on september passed, would help the province move forward with a tightly regulated private retail model for cannabis that would launch by April 1st, 2019. The legislation would establish the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) as the provincial regulator authorized to grant store licences. The Ontario Cannabis Store would be the exclusive wholesaler to these stores.

The draft legislation confirms the government’s announced intention to have Ontario recreational cannabis sales be conducted by private businesses (on the ground) and by government (online). Authorized retailers will purchase cannabis directly from the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (“OCRC”), operating as the Ontario Cannabis Store. From October 17th to April 2019, when the government hopes to have private authorized retailers licensed and ready to sell, recreational cannabis will be legally available to Ontarians only through online purchases from the OCRC.

How is the process to be a private cannabis store in Ontario?

Many existing weed shops will want into the legal market, but it will get difficult. Ontario’s insisting they shut down by Oct. 17th if they wish to, maybe, sell legally in April 2019.

Ontario can expect far more than the 40 shops its previous government had planned.

In Ontario, cannabis growers want to expand vertically into retailing. Aurora Cannabis is eyeing 100 potential stores. Canopy Growth wants as many Ontario licenses as possible, and already has some in Newfoundland, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.


According to the draft legislation:

  • A government agency called the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp. will handle online cannabis sales
  • Anyone looking to open a pot shop in 2019 will have to apply for both a retail-operator licence and a retail store authorization for each potential location
  • The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will regulate the marketplace.
  • The Ontario government says it will not put a cap on pot shops when it starts licensing and regulating the province’s private cannabis retail marketplace
  • In 2019, licensed pot producers will be able to have one retail location located at a production facility (similar to a store at a craft brewery)
  • The Licence Act and OCRC Act give the Ontario government the ability to set a minimum price for cannabis sold in authorized retail locations and online by the OCRC.
  • AGCO will refuse an application where the applicant has been convicted of an offence under the new federal or provincial cannabis legislation.
  • Cannabis licensing will bear many similarities to liquor licensing in Ontario. Unlike in liquor licensing, however, the new cannabis licensing regime administratively separates the licensing of retail operators (and their managers) from the authorization of a particular retail store location.


Recently, Bruce Chapman, the president of the Police Association of Ontario explained his concern about officers across the province that are being left in the dark about whether or not they’ll be able to use recreational cannabis off duty when it becomes legal.

Chapman said so far there’s been little collaboration with police associations to develop policies for their members.

Another complaint from The chair of the OACP’s human resources committee, Steve Bell: With legalization less than two weeks away, police services across the country should now have the tools to develop their policies, and the OACP has recommended they do so in consultation with police associations. So far, officers will have to wait.

Suggestions about how this process could be faster? comment bellow!

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