The federal government legalized recreational cannabis on October 17th, 2018, but left it up to the provinces and territories to oversee distribution and sales.

Starting Oct. 17, the province introduced a system for online sales through the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) to meet the federal government’s requirements.

  • The proposed minimum age to use, purchase and possess recreational cannabis in Ontario will be 19. The use of recreational cannabis will be prohibited in public places and workplaces.
  • Illicit cannabis dispensaries are not and will not be legal retailers. The province will pursue a coordinated and proactive enforcement strategy, working with municipalities, local police services, the OPP and the federal government to help shut down these illegal operations.
  • Ontario will prohibit individuals under the age of 19 from possessing or consuming recreational cannabis, which will allow police to confiscate small amounts of cannabis from young people. The province’s approach to protecting youth will focus on prevention, diversion, and harm reduction without unnecessarily bringing them into contact with the justice system.

The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) does not operate any storefronts but provides an online channel that includes an age-verification system to ensure safe home delivery of cannabis products. The OCS also acts as a wholesale supplier for private retailers.

The Ontario government has released regulations that will route the startup of private cannabis stores on April 1, 2019. Applications for licences will begin on December 17. A market concentration limit of 75 stores per operator has been set.

The province will provide $40 million over two years to help municipalities across Ontario with costs related to the legalization of cannabis.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa estimates that Ontario will collect 40 per cent of the provinces’ share of tax revenue. That would mean about $120 million, based on forecasts announced in Ottawa in December 2017.