Pubdate: Sat, 04 Nov 2017
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Shawn Jeffords
Page: A1


ONTARIO HAS NAMED Hamilton as one of the first 14 cities where the
province will set up government-run marijuana stores by July 2018.

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario, which will run the shops through
a subsidiary, said Friday the stores will also be located in Barrie,
Brampton, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Mississauga, Ottawa, Sault Ste.
Marie, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vaughan and Windsor.

The LCBO said its representatives, along with staff from Ontario's
Ministry of Finance, will meet with the municipalities in the coming
weeks to determine the exact locations. The LCBO is posting updates on
the process at

The Ontario government said it will identify more locations for its
first batch of 40 stores but noted all consumers will be able to
access cannabis through an online retail website.

Stores in Halton, Niagara Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk still have to
be announced. The province plans to set up approximately 150
standalone cannabis stores by 2020.

Last week, Finance Minister Charles Sousa wrote municipal leaders and
said Ontario's store rollout aims to achieve the right geographic
distribution across the province and to reduce the number of illegal
marijuana dispensaries that have opened since the federal government
announced it will legalize marijuana next summer.

"Our proposed approach is to build on the expertise and backoffice
capabilities of the LCBO to set up the Crown Corporation," Sousa said
in the letter to municipalities. "Our priority is to reduce the
illegal market by building on our strengths to create an efficient and
secure system for people across the province."

The public will also be notified about the proposed store locations
and will be asked to provide feedback directly to the LCBO, he said.
None of the retail stores will be located near schools, Sousa said.

Ontario was the first province to announce a detailed plan to sell and
distribute recreational marijuana and will set the legal age to
purchase it at 19.

The federal government introduced legislation in April with a goal of
legalizing and regulating the use of recreational pot by July 1, 2018,
but left it up to individual provinces to design their own
distribution system and usage regulations.

Consumption of legal weed will not be allowed in public spaces or
workplaces and should be confined to private residences, the province
has said.

The government introduced its marijuana legislation earlier this week,
which contains new penalties for people who are convicted of illegally
selling or distributing cannabis, including fines of up to $250,000
and/or jail of up to two years less a day.

For every day those people or businesses continue to sell marijuana
after being convicted the first time, they will be subject to further
fines of up to $100,000 and $500,000, respectively.

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said the government will clamp down on
illegal distribution channels.

"We are going to work very hard toward that," he said. "We have put
very strict penalties in that regards …. We feel very comfortable that
the regime that we will put in place will be a significant deterrent
for these illegal businesses."
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MAP posted-by: Matt