A new bill aimed at combating Ontario’s illicit cannabis market will see the cap on the number of stores a cannabis operator can manage double.
Previously capped at 75, the new bill will allow licensed cannabis retailers to operate up to 150 storefronts.
The existing store cap of 75, implemented in 2021, is set to be lifted early next year, providing more opportunities for licensed cannabis retailers. The Ontario government believes that increasing the number of authorised stores will help curb the illicit market, which has been a persistent challenge since Canada legalised recreational marijuana five years ago.
In addition to these changes, the ‘Enhancing Access to Justice Act 2023’, announced by Attorney General Doug Downey, seeks to make it illegal to cultivate recreational cannabis in homes providing childcare services.
Mr Downey emphasised that the proposed legislation isn’t a judgment on the quality of childcare or the facilities themselves but is motivated by exposure concerns. The decision was prompted by unspecified issues rather than specific incidents.
The omnibus legislation will also address enforcement options against illegal online cannabis sales and support negotiations with First Nations communities on the regulation of cannabis on reserves.