QUEENS PARK – Ontario has implemented the latest phase of the province’s planned response to the federal government’s legalization of cannabis by passing strict new regulations to protect children and youth, keep communities and roads safe and combat the illegal market.
“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.”
In a media statement the Ontario Government says, “The result of widespread consultations with the people of Ontario, these regulations 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 regulations establish a minimum distance of 150 metres (approximately 500 feet) between cannabis retail stores and schools, including private and federally-funded First Nation schools off-reserve. This distance buffer will help protect students and keep communities safe, while other regulations will combat the influence and participation of organized crime in the legal licensed framework.
Other new strict 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.
- Specific instances in which applicants will be denied a licence, including cannabis-related criminal offences. Notably, illegal cannabis retailers who were operating after October 17, 2018 are not eligible for Ontario cannabis sales licenses.
- A prohibition on the issuance of a licence to any individual or organization who has an association with organized crime.
- Requirement that individuals or entities applying for an operator licence demonstrate their tax compliance status to show that they are in good standing with the government.
- A requirement for 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 cannabis retail market is trained in the responsible sale of cannabis.