As Canada prepares to go green on July 1, 2018 by legalizing the use of recreational marijuana, Government of Ontario is moving forward with a plan to restrict sales of the substance to 150 LCBO-run stores.
The LCBO-run shops will serve as standalone marijuana outlets and not sell alcohol. A government-controlled website will also be put into place, where consumers could purchase marijuana online.
Eighty stores are expected to open across Ontario by July 1, 2019, while another 70 would come to life by 2020. The goal is to have 40 of these licensed stores up and running in time for the 2018 legalization of recreational marijuana.
While some will undoubtedly celebrate this move, certain business owners won’t be as impressed. By restricting sales of marijuana to LCBO-run operations, weed dispensaries that are peppered across the province – deemed to be illegal – will be shut down.
Furthermore, the provincial government will only sell weed provided by producers who have been licensed by Health Canada. At the LCBO-run stores, marijuana will only be available to those aged 19+, but sold behind the counter. Like with cigarettes, advertising recreational marijuana will remain illegal.
The Government of Ontario said that the pricing of marijuana will be set low enough to discourage civilians from purchasing product off the illegal market, but high enough to not encourage people to smoke. The government hasn’t publically revealed how much revenue it expects to generate from recreational marijuana sales, but plans to pour money into health and educational programs in the future.
In terms of using recreational marijuana, it will be permitted in private settings, not public areas.
Recently, “theZoomer” tackled the issue of marijuana legalization in Canada head-on. This episode featured impassioned debate, especially by high profile pot advocate Jodie Emery. You can watch her appearance below.