What are the new cannabis laws regarding dispensaries & private licenses?
Although recreational cannabis will be legalized in Ontario on October 17, 2018, there has been much speculation as to the private cannabis retail marketplace scheduled to start by April 1, 2019.
On September 26, 2018, the Ontario government announced its plan to introduce legislation that will propose a licensed and regulated private retail model to sell cannabis in Ontario. As it stands, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will regulate the authorization to grant cannabis store licenses and enforce compliance. Interestingly, the proposed legislation will not cap the number of stores allowed to get provincial licences and licensed growers will be limited to one store each at an Ontario production site. As a result, the proposed legislation has drastically changed the large-scale retail plans of the largest companies and opened a window of opportunity for small business owners to actively compete for private cannabis retail market share.
If you are interested in applying for a provincial licence to open a private cannabis retail store, here are a few quick facts to consider about the Ontario government’s proposed legislation:
- Municipalities will have the opportunity to opt-out of having retail cannabis stores in their communities, before January 22, 2019
- To open a private cannabis retail store you will have to apply for both a retail-operator licence and a retail store authorization for each potential location. Retail stores will be permitted in April of 2019
- Breaching provincial cannabis sale rules, engagement with organized crime, or providing youth with cannabis will preclude you from obtaining a licence
- The Ontario Cannabis Store will be the exclusive wholesaler and distributor to private retail stores and the public may purchase cannabis from the OCS directly using their website
- The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation will report directly to the Minister of Finance and no longer be a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario; the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will be issuing the retail licences
- A zero-tolerance approach will be taken for any retailer that sells cannabis to a minor or without a licence
- Any dispensary presently selling cannabis in Ontario without a licence and prior to its legalization in April of 2019 will forever be banned from lawful cannabis sales in Ontario and forever prohibited from obtaining a lawful permit
Kalfa Law is presently assisting a number of private dispensaries in obtaining retail licences. If you would like to speak with a lawyer about Cannabis law and how we can help establish your growth or dispensary business, contact us today.
-Julian Franch, Associate Lawyer
© Kalfa Law, 2018
The above provides information of a general nature only. This does not constitute legal advice. All transactions or circumstances vary, and specified legal advice is required to meet your particular needs. If you have a legal question you should consult with a lawyer.