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Pot goes retail in Ontario

Legalized cannabis coming to a store, keyboard near you
Colorado marijuana

More than 150 stand-alone provincial stores will sell recreational marijuana across Ontario by 2020, including 80 by July 1, 2019.

The Ontario government is the first province or territory out of the chute to release a plan on Sept. 8 to regulate cannabis, expected to be legalized by Ottawa next July.

The LCBO will be its legal retail distributor and will handle online sales which will be launched across Ontario by next July.

Alcohol and cannabis will not be sold alongside each other.

“We’ve heard people across Ontario are anxious about the federal legalization of cannabis,” said Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi in a statement.

“The province is moving forward with a safe and sensible approach to legalization that will ensure we can keep our communities and roads safe, promote public health and harm reduction, and protect Ontario’s young people."

“When it comes to retail distribution, the LCBO has the expertise, experience, and insight to ensure careful control of cannabis, helping us to discourage illicit market activity and see that illegal dispensaries are shut down,” said Finance Minister Charles Sousa.

Formal legislation will be introduced this fall after province-wide consultations.

Nineteen years of age is the proposed minimum age to use, purchase, and possess recreational cannabis in Ontario.

Its use will be prohibited in public places and workplaces.

The government said it will crack down on dispensaries considered not legal retailers and has “made changes” to allow law enforcement to remove drivers from the road believed to be impaired by drugs, including marijuana.

Queen’s Park said it will consult with the federal government on pricing and taxation, and meet with municipalities, Indigenous communities, and other stakeholders to work out the details of the retail and distribution system.