Highlights of Ontario’s New Marijuana Legislation


TORONTO — Ontario’s proposed marijuana legislation will, if passed, establish regulations to govern the sale of recreational pot in the province. Here are some highlights of the new bill:

— Sets the legal age to use, buy or cultivate marijuana at 19.

— Bans cannabis use in public places, workplaces and vehicles.

— Creates a provincial retailer, a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, which will open and operate 150 standalone stores to sell cannabis by 2020. The first 40 will open by July 2018, with that number rising to 80 by July 2019.

— Establishes a penalty structure to crack down on illegal storefront dispensaries. The maximum fine for unlawful cannabis sales by an individual is set at $250,000 and two years less a day in jail. For corporations, the fines range from $25,000 to $1 million. That same fine structure also applies to landlords (individual and corporate property owners) who knowing allow illegal marijuana sales on their property.

— Establishes fines of $200 for people under 19 who are convicted of cannabis possession or consumption while also allowing for diversion, instead of the fine, into programs focused on education and prevention.

— Under the proposed rules, young or novice drivers (with a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence) would face licence suspensions from three to 30 days and fines from $250 to $450 if they have drugs or alcohol in their system. Currently, young and novice drivers face a 24-hour licence suspension and no monetary penalty.

The Canadian Press