Cannabis in Ontario

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Seal designating an authorized recreational cannabis retailer in Ontario.

Cannabis in Canada has been legal for medicinal purposes since 2001 under conditions outlined in the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. This was superseded by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations,[1] issued by Health Canada while seed, grain, and fibre production were permitted under licence by Health Canada.[2]

The federal Cannabis Act, legalizing cannabis for recreational use, came into effect on 17 October 2018.[3][4] Each province and territory set its own laws for various aspects, such as the legal age, whether householders can grow cannabis and the method of retail sales. The latter aspect varies as to ownership of retail outlets (by the provincial government or private enterprise) but all provinces and territories include an option for on-line sales.[5][6]

The government was planning to accept entries in mid-January 2019 for the first 25 retail cannabis licences; a lottery would be used to select the final contenders for operating the storefront outlets.[7] 25 companies were selected to qualify to run a retail store and are expected to provide the province with an application detailing a plan to get a store running by January 18th, 2019 [8].

Legalization for recreational use[edit]

The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation, a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, is the sole legal wholesale distributor and online retailer of recreational cannabis in Ontario. The online store operates under the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) branding.[9][10][11] The initial plan for legalization was for all retail outlets in Ontario to be operated by OCS, with at least 150 OCS stores opened by 2020.

Following the election of the Progressive Conservative Party to government in the 2018 Ontario general election, the provincial government announced significant changes to the cannabis regulation and distribution system in August 2018. Plans for brick-and-mortar OCS retail outlets were cancelled, with OCS now intended to only operate as an online retailer with deliveries made by Canada Post.[12] In addition to acting as the sole online retailer of recreational cannabis in Ontario, OCS will also act as the wholesale provider for private retail stores.[13] Municipal governments were given the opportunity for indefinite opt-outs from having retail stores opened in their municipalities provided that they passed a council resolution in favour of opting out and they informed the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario in writing before 22 January 2019.[14]

In early November, Canada Post advised the OCS that the names and addresses of 4,500 customers had been accessed by an individual without authority to do so.[15]

The minimum legal age to purchase or use cannabis in Ontario is 19, and adults can carry up to 30 grams in public. Cannabis edibles will not be sold for another year, but home made food and drinks can be made. Ontario's cannabis legislation allows for vaping and smoking the product in public wherever tobacco may be smoked, and subject to the same restrictions as tobacco.[16] Home growing is permitted, with up to four plants per household.[17][18]

Industrial hemp[edit]

Industrial hemp is the cannabis plant and variances that contain under 0.3% THC in the leaves and flowering heads. Under the Opium Narcotic Drug Act hemp production was prohibited in Canada in 1938 for the battle against THC abuse, now under the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act (CDSA) and subsection Industrial Hemp Regulation(IHR) permission of Canadian Farmer's under regulated approval the right to commercially produce industrial hemp on 12 March 1998.[19]

There are two separate licensing applications for individuals and corporations that gives the right to grow, sell, import/export, sterilize, clean and prepare industrial hemp. As of November 2017, there were 83 total licenses and registries in Ontario and a total of 1830 in Canada which gave rights to 22 approved cultivars in 2017 that had 55853.97 registered hectarage for cultivation of industrial hemp, 474.46 of which was in Ontario.[20] Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs gives background information on industrial hemp and a fact sheet on growing industrial hemp from start to finish, idea soil conditions all the way to the economics of hemp production.[21] Uses of industrial hemp is construction materials, textiles, paper, rope and twine, various food products, cosmetics, and fuel. [22]

Usage[edit]

In 2013, 12.1 percent of residents reported that they consumed cannabis in the past twelve months, the third highest in the country.[23] In 2017, Statistics Canada reported that the province had the fourth highest per capita usage in the country of 21 grams per person.[24][25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations". laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Industrial Hemp Regulation Program FAQ". Health Canada. November 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  3. ^ Scott, Monique (20 June 2018). "Marijuana to be legal in Canada starting October 17, Trudeau confirms". Global News.
  4. ^ "The Cannabis Act: The Facts". Health Canada. Government of Canada. 20 June 2018. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Marijuana is legal everywhere across Canada now". Inside Halton. Metroland News. 17 October 2018. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Cannabis is legal in Canada — here's what you need to know". CBC News. CBC. 17 October 2018. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Lottery for Ontario retail cannabis licences to take place next week". City News Toronto. 3 January 2019. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  8. ^ Cannabis (12 January 2019). "Ontario announces winners of cannabis retail lottery, no known names emerge victorious | Financial Post". Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  9. ^ Benzie, Robert (8 September 2017). "LCBO to run 150 marijuana stores". Toronto Star.
  10. ^ "Ontario government's marijuana monopoly could weed out craft growers". 8 September 2017.
  11. ^ "Medical marijuana producers bristle at Ontario's planned monopoly on recreational cannabis sales". 11 September 2017.
  12. ^ https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/vbn37a/doug-fords-weed-plans-are-good-actually
  13. ^ "Ontario to allow private retailers to sell cannabis, province will handle online sales". CBC News. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  14. ^ "List of Ontario municipalities prohibiting or allowing cannabis retail stores". Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Queen's Printer for Ontario. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  15. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Names of recreational cannabis buyers hacked". Ottawa Sun. 7 November 2018. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  16. ^ "Pot is now legal in Ontario. Here's what you need to know". CBC News. 17 October 2018. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  17. ^ Kalina Laframboise (16 November 2017), Quebec government reveals details of marijuana bill: Proposed law includes plans for sale, distribution and enforcement of cannabis, CBC News
  18. ^ "Cannabis is legal in Canada — here's what you need to know". CBC News. CBC. 17 October 2018. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Hemp and the hemp industry Frequently Asked Questions". Government of Canada. 13 October 2018.
  20. ^ "Statistics, Reports and Facts Sheets on Hemp". Government of Canada. 13 October 2018.
  21. ^ "Growing Industrial Hemp in Ontario". Ontario MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD, AND RURUAL AFFAIRS. 4 January 2016.
  22. ^ "Hemp and the hemp industry Frequently Asked Questions". Government of Canada. 13 October 2018.
  23. ^ "B.C., Nova Scotia home to the most marijuana smokers: StatsCan". torontosun.com. Toronto Sun. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  24. ^ Quon, Alexander (30 April 2018). "Nova Scotians smoke the most weed per capita in Canada: StatsCan". globalnews.ca. Global News. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  25. ^ "Provincial and Territorial Cannabis Economic Accounts, 2017". statcan.gc.ca. Statistics Canada. 30 April 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2019.