Pubdate: Sat, 04 Nov 2017
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2017 The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Shawn Jeffords
Page: A16


Ontario has named the first 14 cities where it will set up
government-run marijuanastores by July, 2018.

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario, which will run the shops through
a subsidiary, said on Friday the stores will be located in Barrie,
Brampton, Hamilton, 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 Ontario government said it will be identifying more locations for
its first batch of 40 stores but notes that all consumers will be able
to access cannabis through an online retail website.

The province plans to set up approximately 150 stand-alone cannabis
stores by 2020.

Last week, Finance Minister Charles Sousa wrote to 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 back-office
capabilities of the LCBO to set up the Crown Corporation," Mr. 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, Mr. 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 that 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.
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