After weeks of speculation, the new Ontario government has confirmed that cannabis retail will be privatized—a dramatic departure from the previous government’s plan, in which former Premier Kathleen Wynne promised 40 government-run retail cannabis outlets would be open upon legalization, followed by at least a hundred more within two years.
At a news conference in Toronto on Monday, Ontario’s finance minister, Vic Fedeli, announced that when recreational cannabis becomes legal federally in October, Ontarians over the age of 19 will be able to purchase recreational cannabis online, from the government-run Ontario Cannabis Store.
As for physical retail sales, the government is introducing legislation that will allow adults to buy recreational cannabis from private retail outlets starting next April. The province will be responsible for all cannabis distribution in the new system.
“We have to get it right,” Fedeli said in explaining the six-month lag time. He added that the government plans to consult with public health organizations, law enforcement, and indigenous communities before rolling out the retail system. “We’re committed to creating a safe retail model that eliminates the illegal market in Ontario. We’re taking balanced and responsible approach to building a system that works.”
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