Photo: Bill Walker
Bill Walker MPP Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound
Queen's Park

Bill Walker MPP

Media Release:

For Immediate Release
August 13, 2018

PC Government Announces Cannabis Retail Model

MPP Walker says plan will protect communities while combatting the illegal cannabis market

QUEEN’S PARK — Today, the Ontario PC Government announced its plan for a recreational cannabis retail model. Following the federal Liberal government’s legalization of cannabis come October 17, the province will immediately introduce an online retail channel, to be followed by a tightly-regulated private retail model that would launch by April 1, 2019.

“Our rules will keep Ontarians safe and protected, while eliminating illegal dispensaries from our communities,” said Bill Walker, MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.

“We’re committed to a zero-tolerance policy, and our focus will always be on keeping our youth, neighbourhoods and communities safe because public safety is absolutely paramount,” he said.

The government will provide municipalities with a one-time ability to opt-out of permitting physical cannabis retail stores within their boundaries. While it was the federal government that made the decision to legalize cannabis, the provincial government will provide $40 million over two years to help municipalities with costs related to the legalization of cannabis.

“In order to protect our communities – we are committing to working closely with our municipalities to ensure we have balanced, and responsible approach that works for all Ontarians,” said Walker.

Our plan includes both an online offering and physical stores. Starting on October 17, consumers over the age of 19 will be able to purchase cannabis via an online retail platform provided by the Ontario Cannabis Store. The online offering will include a strong age and identification verification system. We make sure that online purchase delivery for cannabis products meet our federally-imposed obligations.

Our government will also immediately begin consultations with municipalities, Indigenous communities, police, and public health and industry groups. We will also speak with representatives from other provinces with similar models to learn about best practices to help us achieve our goal of a safe private retail model that protects children and helps eliminate the illegal market.  

“We do not believe that the Government of Ontario should be in the business of running brick-and-mortar cannabis stores,” said Walker.  “We will look to the private sector to provide in-person shopping options, in a heavily-regulated environment that takes sales away from the illegal market,” said Walker.

There will be a zero-tolerance policy, including severely escalating fines, for any retailer or dispensary who continues to operate in the illicit markets. We will bring forward new measures to ensure road safety. We will also have a zero-tolerance policy for young, novice and commercial drivers with respect to driving under the influence. Further, in order to provide consumers with peace-of-mind and confidence, the Ontario government will also introduce the Ontario Licenced Cannabis Seal that will help consumers identify legitimate retailers that sell federally-regulated cannabis products. This is all part of our plan to make sure customer can purchase cannabis products in a safe, regulated environment.

CONTACT: Ana Sajfert | | 416-325-6242

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