This evening, the province of Ontario issued a news release detailing soon-to-be posted regulation(s) regarding private cannabis retail in Ontario. The government says that the regulations come after “widespread consultations” with Ontarians; including municipalities, Indigenous communities, law enforcement, public health advocates, and businesses and consumer groups. We have been in contact with government officials and we understand that full regulations will be available to the public tomorrow morning.
As of now, the only new regulations mentioned in the news release are the following:
- A minimum distance of 150 metres between cannabis retail stores and schools, including private and federally-funded First National schools off-reserve. The government says this distance buffer keeps students and Ontario’s youth top of mind and works to keep Ontario’s communities safe.
- A market concentration limit of 75 stores per operator to prevent market consolidation.
- Retailers will not be permitted to allow anyone under the age of 19 to enter their stores.
- There will be specific instances where applicants will be denied a license, including cannabis-related criminal offences and those who have an association with organized crime. Notably, illegal cannabis retailers who were operating after October 17, 2018 are not eligible for Ontario cannabis sales licenses.
- Requirement that individuals or entities applying for an operator licence demonstrate their tax compliance status to show that they are in good standing with the government.
- A requirement for all private recreational cannabis retail storefronts to be stand-alone stores only.
- Cannabis retail managers and all retail employees will be required to complete the approved training to ensure that any individual who works in the cannabis retail market is trained in the responsible sale of cannabis.
- Private retail recreational cannabis stores will be permitted to open between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on any day. These operating hours are consistent with on-site retail stores for alcohol and will provide retailers with the flexibility to respond to local market conditions and consumer demands.
H+K will continue to monitor the situation closely.