The Government of Ontario is announcing their plans to form a cannabis control board Friday, Sept. 8, according to sources for the CBC. The board plans to open between 40-60 dispensaries by July 2018, and have 150 by 2020. These stores will be run by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, and any dispensary operating outside of this system (such as the over 140 dispensaries in Toronto alone) is considered illegal and will be shut down.
Can you buy a can of beer and cannabis at the same time?
Contrary to the rumours, you won’t be able to grab those buds and suds at the same time either, as these new dispensaries will not be located inside any LCBO’s stores (Liquor Control Board of Ontario). According to the National Post in May 2016, a survey found that Ontario would prefer to buy their cannabis at dispensaries and drug stores instead of liquor stores, and that may have factored into their decision. But whether Canada has similar sales and distribution models across the country will depend, as the federal government has left much of that in the hands of the provinces.
For their part, the premiers have said that if the process is too rushed and they’re unable to address certain issues, they’ll ask for an extension- although PM Trudeau is still committed to that July 2018 legalization date.
At this point in time, cannabis resides in a legal grey area, although some police see it as a black and white issue. Back in July, it was announced that many of the charges from the Project Claudia raids were dropped, yet despite rising concerns that these dispensary raids were a waste of public resources, some police have vowed to continue enforcing a law that won’t exist in a year.
Only time will tell if the other provinces decide to follow Ontario’s lead or blaze a trail for themselves.