Article by Marco Maduri, The Lawyers Daily
The government of Ontario recently introduced Bill 36, the Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act. If passed, Bill 36 will enact the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018 and make numerous amendments to other Ontario laws, including the Cannabis Act, 2017, the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act, 2017, and the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017.
The proposed system is in line with the Ford government’s campaign commitment to create a private model for the sale of recreational cannabis in Ontario. Bill 36 is a substantial departure from the province’s previous model, which would have seen the Liquor Control Board of Ontario operate a monopoly over recreational cannabis sales in Ontario.
While many details are still forthcoming, a few salient points from Bill 36 are set out below.
Following legalization on Oct. 17, recreational cannabis will only be sold in Ontario through the government’s online platform. Brick-and-mortar sales will begin on April 1, 2019, at privately owned and operated locations.
Duties of the OCRC
The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (the OCRC) will be the only authorized online retailer of recreational cannabis in the province. The OCRC will also be the province’s only wholesaler and distributor of recreational cannabis to private retail sales locations.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will oversee the licensing of retail sales locations. Similar to applications under the federal Cannabis Act applicants should expect a thorough review of their personnel (including directors, officers and shareholders).
The AGCO’s website states that it will “move quickly to define the licensing process” in an attempt to support the goal of having private stores open for business by next April 1. No further details have been provided and the AGCO is not accepting applications at this time.