Article by Kyle Duggan, iPolitics
As the clock ticks closer to July, the air is clearing up enough to show a nearly complete picture of what provincial cannabis laws across Canada will look like.
Some provinces and territories — like B.C., Saskatchewan and Nunavut — have yet to introduce their own provincial bills. But it’s becoming less hazy which direction most provinces are headed on key issues, like restrictions on growing at home, legal age, and distribution models.
Private vs public retail
Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Yukon and Northwest Territories are all opting for public distribution models, sold through crown corps/commissions otherwise charged with alcohol sales in those jurisdictions.
The prairie provinces – Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan – are all opting for private sales models.
B.C., where cannabis shops have been budding for some time already, is allowing for both sales models. Newfoundland and Labrador will allow for private sales, but the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corp. will step in to sell cannabis where there are no other alternatives available.
Yukon might eventually have private stores, but will start with a public system. Nunavut has yet to decide on a model.
Number of retail locations
A few provinces have already declared how many shops there will be at the outset of legalization.
Ontario will sell the drug in 40 stores come July 2018, managed by a provincial government retailer. That number is set to double the next year, then reach 150 by 2020. Quebec plans for just 15 retailers to start out.
Saskatchewan has said it plans to issue about 60 cannabis retail permits for private operators in up to 40 communities.
New Brunswick issued tenders for 20 shops in 15 communities, and has announced 11 locations so far.
P.E.I. announced government-owned retail locations in Charlottetown, Summerside, Montague and West Prince.
Yukon intends to open at least one store by July, while in the Northwest Territories, cannabis will be sold through its existing liquor stores so that it can be ready for the July deadline.