Ontario unveils its restrictive plan for pot sales

Katrina Barker
September 10, 2017

Ontario is the first province or territory to lay out its plans for how cannabis will be sold and regulated in response to federal legislation that will legalize recreational use by July 2018.

During today's press conference, Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi also said the government is committed to shutting down the dozens of dispensaries now operating in the province illegally.

The LCBO will also sell marijuana online through a government-run website.

"We know we'll see an influx of toking tourists", he said, referring to people expected to cross from MI, where marijuana is illegal.

To protect young people in Ontario, the province will prohibit individuals under the age of 19 from possessing or consuming recreational cannabis, which will allow police to confiscate small amounts of cannabis from young people.

The Ontario government is the first province or territory out of the chute to release a plan on September 8 to regulate cannabis, expected to be legalized by Ottawa next July.

Ministry of Finance spokesperson Scott Blodgett confirmed it'll be based on the "illegal market and distribution across the province".

Bordeleau estimates there are 17 illegal dispensaries in the city, but as fast as they close them, another pops up.

Proponents of the plan argue that having cannabis distributed by the government rather than through private retailers will keep the profit motive out of the equation and will avoid similar problems as those caused by big tobacco and alcohol.

"We haven't made any decision as to whether that would be something that would be a strong contender for consideration here", he said.

The LCBO will oversee the legal retail of cannabis in Ontario through new stand-alone cannabis stores and an online order service. Those reasons are also why he says politicians must consider what should be done if specific communities do not want to allow the sale of marijuana within their communities. "Dispensaries will fill that void where the government is slow online, slow on retail", he said. "It is very hard to keep up with your school work if you smoke a lot of marijuana", he said.

"If this Ontario government introduces their model the way it's being presented today, we will see the black market continue to exist by their own policy", Emery told reporters after the province's press conference. Naqvi and Sousa would not comment on how much the system will cost to set up, how legal marijuana will be priced, or how much revenue the sale is expected to generate for the province. "I suspect we would probably be looking at other options".

Tory MPP Laurie Scott said Progressive Conservatives are still concerned about public safety, especially drug-impaired driving.

The aim of these regulations, according to government officials, is to ensure public safety and to curb sales within the black market.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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