August 14, 2018
By: Andrea Hill
I am pleased to bring you this instalment of my blog, rounding up what’s currently happening in the cannabis industry in Canada and abroad.
Ontario confirms private dispensaries to sell recreational cannabis
- Yesterday afternoon, the Ontario government confirmed that it will allow private-sector retail sale of cannabis through dispensaries, to be in operation by April 1, 2019.
- The news follows weeks of reports that the new provincial government would depart from the previous government’s plan to sell all cannabis through a subsidiary of the LCBO.
- Online sales of recreational cannabis will still be conducted starting October 17, 2018 through the website of the Ontario Cannabis Store, operated by the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC). Online purchasers must be at least 19 and will need to sign for their packages upon delivery.
- In addition to running online sales, the Ontario Cannabis Store will be the sole wholesaler for private dispensaries in the province. Pricing details have not been released yet, although the OCRC has circulated a draft wholesale supply agreement. Having a single wholesaler likely means that licensed dispensaries will be faced with similar wholesale prices.
- Few details about the dispensary licensing process are available yet. Ontario cabinet ministers Vic Fedeli and Caroline Mulroney, in announcing the news, indicated that the provincial government would consult with businesses, consumer groups, public health organizations, municipalities, law enforcement and indigenous communities in order to get the model right.
- The delay in opening retail dispensaries will also allow Ontario to learn from other private dispensary models in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, Fedeli said.
- Fedeli also had a message for those running dispensaries today, all of which are illegal: “Stop. Stop now.” The government “won’t want to do business with people running an illegal business”, he said.
- Patrick Ford, the president of the Ontario Cannabis Store, issued a statement saying it welcomed the direction from the provincial government. He also indicated that the Store’s website was “complete”, and that they would have more information soon about supply agreements and province-wide delivery.
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