Ontario will allow retailers to operate up to 75 cannabis stores each amid lack of clarity over rules

Ontario will allow retailers to operate up to 75 cannabis stores each amid lack of clarity over rules
Ontario releases regulations for cannabis retail stores set to open April 1
A vendor displays marijuana for sale during the 4-20 annual marijuana celebration, in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday April 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

TORONTO — The Ontario government has released regulations that will guide the startup of private cannabis stores on April 1.

The stand-alone stores can be open any day between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m., but they must be at least 150 metres away from schools and bar entry to anyone under 19 years old.

However, the province did not clarify exactly how it will limit the reach of cannabis growers. Ontarios cannabis law, which came into effect on Oct. 17, said producers and their affiliates may not between them hold more than one retail store authorization, but did not explain what is meant by affiliate. It is still unclear whether a grower could take a minority stake in a retailer as a way to have more than one store.

Applications for licences will begin on Dec. 17 and illegal cannabis retailers who were operating after legalization on Oct. 17 will not be eligible to receive cannabis sales licences.

Licences wont be issued to any person or organization who has an association with organized crime, and applicants must demonstrate their tax compliance status to show they are in good standing with the government.

The launch of Ontarios government-run digital store has been chaotic, with customers waiting weeks for their orders and the store blaming everything from the Canada Post strike to mislabelled packages. The shop – called the Ontario Cannabis Store – said Monday it has cleared its order backlog, processing 220,000 sales since legalization.

"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," Attorney General Caroline Mulroney said in a statement.

Other regulations were spelled out more clearly on Wednesday. The province said it will start accepting retail applications on Dec. 17. Shops can be open daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. once the new cannabis retailing regime is launched on April 1. Outlets across the province have to be at least 150 metres away from a school.

The government says it will provide $40 million over two years to help municipalities with the implementation costs of recreational cannabis legalization.

Growers are the most cash-flush players in the industry: They can afford to get into bidding wars and overpay for coveted space. Many of Canadas largest legal producers of cannabis want to get into retail in what could be the countrys most-lucrative market to push their products and gain consumer insights.

Police are investigating an alleged assault involving students at St. Michaels College School that was reportedly captured on video and distributed via social media.

The governments news release said the official regulations would be published online. It is possible the text will address the affiliate issue. At the time of publication, the rules had not been posted, and spokespeople for the government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Under new regulations for private cannabis retailers announced by the provincial government Wednesday evening, you'll be able buy pot from  9 a.m. and 11 p.m. in Ontario when the stores start opening next year.

The attorney general's office released the regulations, saying they're aimed at protecting children and youth, keeping communities and roads safe, and combating the illegal cannabis market, the attorney general's office announced Wednesday evening.

For us, whats important is the definition of an affiliate, he said. We certainly intend to be full participants in the industry. … I dont think Ill be signing any leases tonight, because we still dont know the rules.

In what the province calls the latest phase of its planned response to the federal government's legalization of pot for recreational use on Oct. 17, the regulations also establish a minimum distance of 150 metres between cannabis retail stores and schools — including private and federally-funded First Nation schools off-reserve.

Licences won’t be issued to any person or organization who has an association with organized crime, and applicants must demonstrate their tax compliance status to show they are in good standing with the government.

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Applications for licences will begin on Dec. 17 and illegal cannabis retailers who were operating after legalization on Oct. 17 will not be eligible to receive cannabis sales licences.

The news release from the attorney general's office said that restriction will help protect students and keep communities safe, while other regulations will combat the influence and participation of organized crime.

The stand-alone stores can be open any day between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m., but they must be at least 150 metres away from schools and bar entry to anyone under 19 years old.

"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," Attorney General Caroline Mulroney said.

TORONTO – The Ontario government has released regulations that will guide the startup of private cannabis stores on April 1.

"The application process for private cannabis retail store licences will begin on Dec. 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."

A prohibition of the issuance of a licence to any individual or organization who has an association with organized crime.

A requirement for all private recreational cannabis retail storefronts to be stand-alone stores only.

Additionally, under the new regulations, individuals with a store authorization, cannabis retail managers and all 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.

The government says hours for private retail recreational cannabis stores will be consistent with on-site retail stores for alcohol and will provide retailers with the flexibility to respond to local market conditions and consumer demands.

The government has committed to providing $40 million over two years to help municipalities with the implementation costs of recreational cannabis legalization.  

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