Ontario has made yet another step in monopolizing the provincial recreational cannabis sales by introducing the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation.
This new provincial institution is supposed to regulate the sales of cannabis, and in the meantime, it will dabble in a little bit of closing “illegal dispensaries” on the side.
Simply put — Ontarians just got royally played by their provincial government regarding the recreational pot model.
Attorney General Yasir Naqvi announced that the LCBO subsidiary will take effect when Ottawa legalizes recreational weed next July 1.
Even though the law still didn’t go into effect, there are dozens of pot stores in Ontario already selling recreational cannabis and its products.
Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation will open 40 storefronts this summer, that number should grow to 150 by 2020. Attorney General Naqvi claims that the LCBO subsidiary storefronts will most definitely be rebranded and not under that name.
Storefront operations that continue to illegally sell pot after that could be fined up to $1 million and shut down under the new rules, according to Attorney General Yasir Naqvi.
As for individuals, this bill includes fines of up to $250,000 and a possibility of up to two years in jail for individuals who illegally sell cannabis persistently, while growing cannabis will be limited to a certain number of plants.
Both individual and corporate fines are set up in an escalation manner, meaning that every subsequent bust will be a bigger problem for the person caught doing illegal activities.
“These current stores, there are no provisions in federal law for them,” Attorney General said.
No smoking cannabis in public places
This bill also puts users that enjoy smoking in the open at risk of getting fined, given that those caught smoking in public places, workplaces, and motor vehicles will be punished.
Now, many people will interpret this particular part of the bill as an attack on their right to smoke anywhere, but smoking in certain places isn’t a right.
This restriction was put in place simply to avoid high people doing stupid things around other people.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said: “Make no mistake, this is all about the rule of law,” as well as confirming to the press that he is very comfortable with the direction in which the Ontario government is going.
This law is also supposed put a restriction on landowners, in the sense that they won’t be able to rent their property knowingly to illegal cannabis growers.
Read more: Interview with Ontario dispensary owner