LCBO To Oversee Pot Sales

Province solicits public feedback on pot legalization

In April, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled plans to legalize recreational marijuana by July 1, 2018.

Several prominent cannabis activists are also slamming the plan, including Eric Nash and Wendy Little, two Canadian cannabis industry consultants who tweeted their concern about not enough cannabis stores being opened by the province.

The LCBO will oversee the legal retail of cannabis in Ontario through new stand-alone cannabis stores and an online order service.

The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) says any potential role for them hasn't been identified, as work on the province's cannabis plan continues.

Only those 19 years of age and older will be allowed to purchase or possess it. Let me be clear: "these pot dispensaries are illegal and will be shut down".

"If you operate one of these facilities, consider yourself on notice", Naqvi said.

Illicit cannabis dispensaries are not and will not be legal retailers. "It's a model that we encourage other provinces to emulate". She said the strategy was doomed to fail.

Minister of Finance Charles Sousa added that Ontario is "committed to getting this transition right".

Alcohol and cannabis will not be sold alongside each other.

Smoking weed will still be illegal in any public space, or in vehicles. But Mr. Naqvi said the possibility of allowing the consumption of cannabis in some licensed establishments could be part of a later phase of legalization, after more study. The province will be coming forward with new measures to address drug-impaired driving in the coming weeks.

The new stores themselves would have trained staff and would not permit products to be visible to youth. Taxation will likely be "similar" to what's in place for alcohol and tobacco.

The LCBO will be its legal retail distributor and will handle online sales which will be launched across Ontario by next July. Packages of pot would not be left unattended.

Mr. Sousa would not speculate on the amount of revenue the government anticipates, saying the federal government still needs to lay out its price and tax structure first.

"As we build up a safe, responsible channel for recreational cannabis, our twin goal will be stopping the sale of illegal, unregulated, and unsafe cannabis", Naqvi said at a press conference in Toronto. Legislation around this remains to be drafted.

As for online sales, the ministry said it will ensure "secure and safe" delivery across Ontario.

If Saskatchewan goes for a private model, he suggested, dispensaries operating illegally would be able to legalize their operations.

The government will be working with municipalities to determine the best locations for the stores.

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