In the news today, Nov. 15

In the news today, Nov. 15
Ontario will allow retailers to operate up to 75 cannabis stores each amid lack of clarity over rules
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.

Private cannabis stores can sell pot from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., attorney general announces

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.

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.

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 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."

"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.

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.

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

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

The Ford government is introducing a new tax credit that will exempt minimum wage earners from provincial exempt tax and says its cost-cutting measures have reduced the 2018 deficit to $14.5 billion.

Cannabis retailers in Ontario will be allowed to operate as many as 75 stores each, the province said in an update on its rules governing how marijuana will be sold in bricks-and-mortar outlets this spring.

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.

But the industry is still waiting for clarity on whether companies owned in part by licensed growers can open more than one.

Pot is now legal in Ontario. Here's what you need to knowIs Toronto ready to handle cannabis legalization? Why it's a 'murky situation'Ontario to allow pot smoking wherever tobacco smoking allowed

Ontarios Ministry of the Attorney-General published a news release on Wednesday evening that spells out rules for how long stores can be open, where they can be built and when retailers can begin applying for licences.

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

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.

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.

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.

James Burns, chief executive of Alcanna Inc., which operates five NOVA Cannabis stores in Alberta, said he is still waiting for clarity on whether his company can enter the Ontario market, because Alcanna is 25-per-cent owned by licensed producer Aurora Cannabis Inc.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Despite a lack of clarity from Ontario, would-be retailers have already been snapping up prime real estate despite not knowing whether they will qualify to open a cannabis store. Another wrinkle is that Ontario municipalities have until Jan. 22 to opt out of allowing cannabis shops, potentially putting in jeopardy store leases already signed in those markets.

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.

Until April, Ontarians can only buy legal recreational cannabis online. Physical stores have opened in other provinces, such as in Alberta and Quebec.

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 regulations come nearly a month after the start of legal sales and three months since the Progressive Conservatives announced their plans to scrap the retail model planned by the Liberals. The previous government gave the Liquor Control Board of Ontario a monopoly on the sale of recreational cannabis, planning to open 40 shops in the first year. Instead, the province is turning to the private sector for in-store sales by April and plans to continue to run the online shop.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to [email protected] Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to [email protected] Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.