In a move that has parts of the cannabis community up in arms, the Ontario government announced this morning they will be in control of the sale and distribution of marijuana from the top down.
Attorney General Yasir Naqvi, Finance Minister Charles Sousa, and Health Minister Eric Hoskins declared that Ontario will be introducing the provincial legislation later this fall.
These new regulations will have the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) overseeing the creation of up to 150 stand-alone retail cannabis stores by the year 2020, with 80 stores opened by July 2019. The LCBO will also be in control of online sales in Ontario which will begin by the July 2018 deadline.
The sale of cannabis and alcohol together, as originally suggested by Premier Kathleen Wynne, will not be a reality.
This legislation will make the Liquor Control Board the only legal retail distributor of cannabis in Ontario, and will effectively create a province-wide government monopoly.
As well, the government announced this morning that all unlicensed dispensaries in Ontario will be shut down through a coordinated effort between local and provincial police, as well as the federal government.