[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]I[/dropcap]n Canada, the Ontario government released regulations that outline how to open private cannabis stores on April 1, 2019. The strict new regulations aim to protect children and youth, keep communities and roads safe and combat the illegal market.
“The purpose of these regulations is to keep kids safe and to ensure all people operating in this tightly-regulated retail system behave with integrity, honesty, and in the public interest,” said Attorney General Caroline Mulroney.
The stores will be allowed to be open any day of the week between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., but must be 150 meters away from schools and prohibit anyone under 19 years old from entering. A market concentration of 75 stores per operator has been set to prevent a high degree of market consolidation, promote opportunities for small businesses and promote investment in the cannabis retail sector. Retail managers and employees must complete approved training in the responsible sale of cannabis. Ontario has already announced that there will be no limitations on the number of licenses issued in the province.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will begin accepting applications for cannabis-related licenses on Dec. 17, 2018. Cannabis retailers that were in operating illegally after legalization on Oct. 17 will not be eligible to receive cannabis sales licenses. Licenses won’t be issued to people or organizations with ties to organized crime and applicants must demonstrate their tax compliance status to show they are in good standing with the government. A retail license will not be issued to a corporation if more than 9.9 percent of it is owned by one or more licensed cannabis producers or their affiliates, with Ontario stating the goal is to limit the growers’ dominance in the retail market by limiting them to one location on the site of a production facility.
The Ontario government says it will provide $40 million over two years to help with the implementation costs of recreational cannabis legalization.