This was another busy week of legislative changes in Ontario.
First, ELTO will be no more as of January 1, 2019. All tribunals in Ontario will be grouped under a new “Tribunals Ontario”.
You can find the new Ontario Regulation 494/18 here: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r18494
Secondly, there will only be 25 cannabis retail stores in Ontario for April 1, 2019. The provincial government is attributing this change to a supply shortage.
Rather than accepting applications on Monday December 17, 2018 as previously announced, there will be a lottery to allocate the 25 licences some time in 2019. Individuals interested in obtaining a licence must submit an expression of interest online between January 7 – 9, 2019.
The amendments to the regulation stipulate that none of these 25 retail stores may be located in a municipality with fewer than 50,000 people.
Further, the relation has placed a limit on how many stores will be licenced per region:
The Toronto Region may have a maximum of 5 retail stores;
The GTA Region may have a maximum of 6 retail stores;
The North Region may have a maximum of 2 retail stores
The East Region may have a maximum of 5 retail stores.
The West Region may have a maximum of 7 retail stores.
In a webinar today, the AGCO set out that:
- A third-party fairness monitor will be appointed, after which time the lottery rules will be created.
- The OCS will set prices, not the AGCO.
- It is anticipated that the OCS will announce these prices shortly along with expected profit margins for retailers.
- 24-hour surveillance in high definition is required inside and outside retail stores.
- Surveillance recordings must be stored for 30 days and made available to the AGCO.
- Self-service is not permitted and customers may not handle product until purchase.
- Locked and tamper-proof sensory containers will be permitted to allow customers to look and smell products.
- Cannabis that cannot be sold must be destroyed on a monthly basis.
- The AGCO recommends destruction by wetting the cannabis and mixing in an equal amount of cat litter before disposal.
- A retailer cannot offer free or reduced-price cannabis to induce purchase. (No ‘buy one, get one 50% off’ or similar offers, but products may go on sale.)
- Retail managers may only be accountable for one store.
- An individual must first obtain a cannabis retail manager licence to be a manager.
- There will be a $750 fee for a 2-year term retail manager licence.
- No fees have yet been established for the lottery process.
- Fees must be paid when an individual applies for a licence.
- There will be no refund on fees paid.
The AGCO set out the rules surrounding public and municipal consultation:
A notice must go up within 24-hours of issuance of permit. If the retail store has not yet been built, it must be placed somewhere visible to the public.
Local residents and municipalities have 15 calendar days to make written submissions online to the AGCO. Anonymous submissions are not permitted.
The submissions may only address these three things:
- protecting public health and safety;
- protecting youth and restricting their access to cannabis; and
- preventing illicit activities in relation to cannabis.
The applicant has 5 days to respond to any submissions. The decision of the AGCO to issue a permit is final and cannot be appealed.
You can find the new Ontario Regulation 497/18 which amends Ontario Regulation 468/18 here: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r18497