Ontario aims to approve marijuana law a day before adult-use legalization

Toronto Ontario Photo by Berkay Gumustekin on Unsplash

Canada’s largest province is aiming to give its new marijuana law a final vote of approval one day before cannabis becomes legal across the country in a little more than a week.

The bill – the Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act – is a complete reset of rules set by Ontario’s previous government and will open the door to business opportunities in the tourism sector and private sales next spring.

The Standing Committee on Social Policy is scheduled to meet Oct. 11-12 for in-person public hearings on the pending law.

Written submissions will be accepted from the public and business interests until noon ET Oct. 12.

The bill will be called for third reading Oct. 16. Royal Assent – or formal approval – is expected to happen the same day if the lieutenant governor is available to sign off on the measure.

The expected regulations – different from the Act itself – do not have an expected timeline, according to a government spokesperson.

Under the current version of the bill, recreational cannabis sales will be limited to mail order from Oct. 17 through March 2019, with the first brick-and-mortar retail outlets in Ontario not expected to open their doors until April.

The only legal online sales channel will be through the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp.

According to a government spokesperson, when ordering online, consumers will be required to confirm three times that they are older than 19:

  • Before entering the online website.
  • At checkout.
  • On delivery.

Packages will not be left at the door, and purchases will be limited to 30 grams.

Ontario’s proposed new rules for recreational cannabis would:

  • Allow licensed producers to sell marijuana to consumers at cultivation facilities. LPs have lobbied provincial governments to allow so-called “farm-gate” sales since late 2017 in the hopes of creating “a wine country-type of experience.”
  • Gives proprietors of hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts the ability to allow recreational consumption in guest rooms, putting them in a position to capitalize on cannabis tourism.
  • Restrict licensed producers of marijuana to opening one retail location each.

Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]

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