Cannabis Day is Coming Soon. What’s Next for Pot Plans in Ontario?

Article by Toronto Star

Though the provinces are still waiting for the federal government’s legislation expected next month, Ontario is already developing its own marijuana strategy to ensure they’re ready for legalization on July 1, 2018 — Cannabis Day.

Ottawa’s plan to roll out legalized marijuana on July 1, 2018, will make it Cannabis Day as well as Canada Day.

But next month’s federal legislation amending the Criminal Code also means provincial laws need to be changed and a distribution system developed to ensure cannabis sales are restricted to adults.

It is an industry that a Deloitte report last fall estimates could be worth $22.6 billion annually, eclipsing the combined sales of beer, wine, and spirits.

The Ontario government now has bureaucrats from a dozen departments developing the province’s marijuana strategy, examining health, road safety, youth and justice issues as well as the fiscal implications.

Premier Kathleen Wynne has said regulating cannabis and limiting access for children and teenagers will be critical as Queen’s Park develops its own legislative framework.

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said Monday the province is “looking at all policy options that will ensure that we have regulated use of cannabis in the province of Ontario.”

But Naqvi emphasized that the provincial government is awaiting the federal legislation — expected the week of April 10 — before determining how recreational weed will be sold in Ontario.

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