Ontario lays out details for private cannabis retail marketplace


TORONTO — The Ontario government says a Crown corporation will tightly regulate the province’s private cannabis retail marketplace.

It says a bill set to be introduced tomorrow will appoint the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario as regulator for the marketplace, giving it the power to grant — and potentially revoke — licences as well as enforce provincial rules on cannabis sales

The government announced last month that it would sell recreational cannabis online when pot is legalized in October, with private retail stores to follow next year.

Ontario municipalities that want to opt out of hosting pot shops will have until late January to do so under the new legislation.

Under the new bill, a government agency called the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp is slated to handle the online cannabis sales, and a private retail model is scheduled to be in place by April of next year.

The province has said the agency will also be the wholesaler to private retail stores.

The government had previously said municipalities would be allowed to opt out of hosting pot shops within their boundaries but had not spelled out how much time they would have to decide. On Wednesday, it said the deadline would be Jan. 22, 2019.

The previous Liberal government had planned to give the Liquor Control Board of Ontario a monopoly on the sale of recreational cannabis, opening as many as 150 retail stores by 2020.

The Canadian Press