Uncertainty settles in for Ontario’s cannabis retailers

Medical marijuana jars in a retail store

Ontario’s new Ford government has brought some quick changes in the province and regulations around cannabis have not been spared. Under the new proposed amendments to the Cannabis Act (2017), private retailers would be allowed to sell marijuana. Previously, it was expected that only government-run stores would be the only place to purchase recreational cannabis.

If the amendments are passed, Ontario could see private cannabis retailers as starting April 1st. For now, the only place where Ontarians will be able to purchase recreational cannabis when it is legalised on October 17th, 2018 will be online through the Ontario Cannabis Store. The Ontario government does not plan on opening retail stores themselves next month in an effort to save $150 million by 2020, according to CTV News.

However, some important questions are left unanswered. The Ford government wants to limit cannabis producers to one retail store only. This rule would apply to the producers’ affiliates, although the term “affiliate” remains largely undefined by the Ford government, leading to uncertainty. The government claims it wants to encourage competition.

Others worry about the lack of oversight over private retailers compared to government-run stores when it comes to selling cannabis to under-age consumers. The Ford government has yet to provide clarifications on such questions.