Pubdate: Sat, 04 Nov 2017
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Toronto Star
Author: Robert Benzie
Page: A17


Fourteen cities will be home to initial wave of province-run
recreational weed shops

Fourteen Ontario municipalities - including Toronto, Mississauga,
Brampton, Vaughan and Hamilton - will have the first LCBO-run
recreational marijuana stores.

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario, which runs the new Ontario
Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC), announced the first wave of 40
stores on Friday.

Although the exact locations remain to be determined, Barrie,
Kingston, Kitchener, London, Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury,
Thunder Bay, and Windsor will also have the legalized weed stores.

"Over the coming weeks, staff from the Ministry of Finance and the
LCBO will meet with staff at the identified municipalities to discuss
the guidelines and process for siting stores and local interests," a
statement read.

"The guidelines will achieve our objectives of protecting youth by
ensuring stores are not in close proximity to schools, while providing
access within communities and addressing the illegal market," the LCBO

"As part of the engagement with municipalities, when a specific store
site is identified, a public notice will be posted online here and at
the physical site. The public will have the opportunity to submit
questions and comments on the intended site before it is confirmed,"
it continued.

"Additional municipalities intended for stores by July 2018 will also
be identified. Consumers in all regions of Ontario will have access to
cannabis through an online channel."

The news came two days after Attorney General Yasir Naqvi tabled the
landmark Cannabis Act to prepare Ontario for the federal legalization
of recreational marijuana on July 1. That bill paves the way for 150
stand-alone LCBO-run shops by 2020. The OCRC will have a monopoly on
the weed market in Ontario and the existing "dispensaries" now
operating illegally will be forced out of business.

"These pot stores that we see in our neighbourhoods today are illegal.
They will remain illegal - only the Ontario Cannabis Retail
Corporation could sell cannabis for recreational purposes," Naqvi said

The Cannabis Act imposes penalties for running a dispensary of up to
$1 million for a corporate owner and $100,000 for an individual, plus
jail sentences of up to two years less a day.

Only those 19 and over can buy, consume or grow cannabis and it can
only be used in private homes.

Usage will be prohibited in all public places, workplaces and in all

As many as four cannabis plants can be grown in private homes for
personal consumption.

There are also stiffer penalties for motorists who drive while under
the influence of marijuana.

With communities such as Niagara, Peterborough, Muskoka, Cornwall,
North Bay, Timmins and Sarnia being left off the initial list for
retail outlets, some are expressing concern the Liberal weed plan is

NDP MPP Taras Natyshak (Essex) said the initial "40 retail locations
cannot possibly serve the demand in a province the size of Ontario."

"Today's list of 14 communities slated for retail cannabis locations,
together with Kathleen Wynne's cannabis bill, is a really
disappointing package and it leaves Ontarians with many more questions
than answers," Natyshak said.

"By severely restricting retail access to cannabis, her plan won't put
a dent in organized crime or stop the flow of unregulated cannabis to
the market."
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MAP posted-by: Matt