Highlights of Ontario's online platform, private retail model

Ontario plans to sell pot online this

Advertisment The Government of Ontario has announced that retail sales of marijuana in the province will be delayed until April 2019, and that people will have to purchase the recreational drug online until next spring.

Ontario is targeting a launch date of April, 2019, for in-store sales, according to the sources, who all spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"As we continue to work with the OCS to build their online store, we're excited by the opportunity to work with Ontario's cannabis entrepreneurs to help them build retail operations", Loren Padelford, vice-president and general manager at Shopify, said in the email.

"The 500 stores that the Ford government is promising in the private sector is a lot better than the 40 government stores that the Liberals were promising", says Emery.

The sources said that Ford government will also announce on Monday the start of a consultation process with industry stakeholders. Models vary, with Alberta approving privately run stores and Quebec selling through its government alcohol agency.

Under this plan, Ontario municipalities will also have a one-time window to opt out of allowing brick-and-mortar cannabis retail stores in their communities.

The previous government had pledged a provincial monopoly on cannabis sales that would have seen the government operate 150 brick-and-mortar stores by 2020.

The press release did not say if retail stores will have an online option to sell marijuana in April once they have been licenced.


Finance Minister Vic Fideli said the provincial government will work together with municipalities to make their own decisions.

Mayors of the tri-cities have expressed desire, or at least consideration, to allow private retailers in their cities. The maximum amount of recreational marijuana an adult can possess will be 30 grams. Their goal is to sell as much as possible which could mean less adherence to regulations, such as ensuring customers are 19 and older, he said. "They've got to be ready for that in some form or fashion anyway", she said.

"We look forward to engaging the Ontario government on potential retail locations", said Jay Wilgar, CEO of Newstrike, in a release.

Avtar Dhillon, board chair for the Cannabis Council of Canada, a group overseeing the interests of licensed producers in Canada, said this move from Ontario will create a "truly competitive and inclusive landscape that will allow for law-abiding companies to more quickly replace the bad apples in the cannabis space". "Beyond that it ultimately may end up putting pressure on other governments to consider their own system, to consider opening it up".

Fedeli added that the online retail channel will have a "robust verification system" and will ensure safe home delivery for cannabis products.

Landry said Cronos Group Inc., Canopy and Aurora are likely to be some of the biggest beneficiaries of the private retail model.

- with files from Alanna Rizza and Armina Ligaya.

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