Ontario was the first province out of the gate with a detailed plan to sell and distribute recreational cannabis when Ottawa legalizes it next summer. Province has established a detailed plan for the sales and distribution of recreational cannabis.

On Oct. 17, 2018, the province introduced a system for online sales through the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) to meet the federal government’s requirements that provinces be ready for retail sales by that date.

  • The minimum age to use, purchase and possess recreational cannabis in Ontario is 19. The use of recreational cannabis is prohibited in public places and workplaces.
  • A maximum of 30 grams (about one ounce) of dried cannabis (or equivalent) are allowed to have in public at any time.
  • 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.

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.

Through ongoing competitive product calls, the OCS continues to work closely with licensed producers and accessory suppliers to ensure that Ontario’s legal cannabis marketplace has sufficient supply and a broad selection of cannabis products that meet the needs of Ontario consumers.

In 2022, there were 291 cannabis producers licensed to operate in Ontario comparing to 268 in 2021.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is the provincial regulator that licenses cannabis retail operators and authorizes retail stores. In order to operate a cannabis retail store in Ontario, a Retail Operator Licence (as an individual) and a Retail Store Authorization (for each retail location) are required.

As of September 2022, AGCO has issued 1,614 Retail Store Authorizations and about 1,500 stores have been opened

Data collected by Statistics Canada show that retail sales in Ontario reached about $95 million in December 2020, then exceeded $100 million in March 2021 and increased to over $155 million in December. Total sales reached about $1,472 million in 2021 and 2022 brought in $1,806 million, peaking in December at over $170 million.

The Cannabis Intelligence Briefing: Canada Leads the Way on Global Cannabis Legalization report, published by Arcview Market Research and in partnership with BDS Analytics, suggests Ontario cannabis market will grow to almost $2 billion in 2024.

Ontario Cannabis Market Infographics

Source: cannabusinessplans.ca

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