Vic Fedeli, Finance Minister, made the following statement on the passage of the Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act, 2018:
“As a result of federal legislation, recreational cannabis became legal in the province of Ontario and across Canada today. With the passage of the Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act, 2018, the Ontario government will:
Protect Ontario’s youth by ensuring that cannabis remains out of the hands of people under the age of 19
Protect our roads and ensure that our police enforce a strict prohibition against drug-impaired driving
Combat the illegal market through enforcement against those operating outside the legal regime and by providing consumers with a compelling retail alternative.
“The Ontario Cannabis Store’s online channel is the only legal place in the province to buy recreational cannabis.
“This will be followed by a licensed private retail store system for cannabis that will commence on April 1, 2019, overseen by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. This model will foster healthy competition to better combat the illegal market and build a safe, reliable retail system where public safety is paramount.
“Municipalities will have a one-time window to opt-out of permitting cannabis retail stores within their municipal boundaries and they can enact by-laws that further restrict smoking cannabis beyond the provincial minimum standards in places like parks. First Nations communities will also be provided with a similar opportunity to prohibit cannabis retail and delivery within their communities, which will not be time limited.
“Cannabis stores operating in Ontario today are doing so illegally. The government has given police the tools to shut down illegal cannabis store operators. As of today, illegal operators face significant fines, and they will not be granted licenses to participate in the legal market.