Ontario unveils proposed law to regulate recreational marijuana

Ontario became the first province in Canada to introduce legislation to regulate the sale and distribution of recreational marijuana and, in doing so, promised to impose million-dollar fines on privately owned dispensaries that refuse to close their doors.

The province’s marijuana monopoly will be known as the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC), according to the proposed Cannabis Act legislation introduced Wednesday.

To help the OCRC corner the market for adult-use marijuana, the Cannabis Act legislation stiffens penalties for individuals and corporations convicted of illegal sales or distribution of cannabis.

Penalties include fines of up to $1 million for a corporation and $100,000 for individuals, plus jail time of up to two years less a day.

What you need to know about Ontario’s cannabis landscape:

  • It’s not law yet, and any of the proposed measures could change.
  • All dispensaries currently in operation will be shut down.
  • The legal age will be 19, the same as alcohol and tobacco.
  • Only 40 stores will be open by next summer – when rec marijuana is expected to begin – although that total will rise to 150 by 2021.
  • Ontario is set to become a multibillion-dollar legal marijuana hub for both consumers and producers.
  • Edibles won’t be allowed until the summer of 2019.
  • No vending machines will be allowed.

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