The Ontario government will be launching a public awareness campaign that is aimed at educating the youth about the risks of using cannabis. The awareness campaign will come just in time for the legalization of the drug across Canada on Oct. 17.
According to Attorney-General Caroline Mulroney, the campaign will be used to educate the public about the rules and regulations surrounding cannabis consumption in the country’s largest province. It will also discuss the health and safety measures that the local government has put in place where the drug is concerned.
Ads on social responsibility targeted at young people
Mulroney said that the government’s particular focus is on reaching young people through social-media and digital channels, as well as on television and across college and university campuses. They will put up ads that will appear in 10 different languages, , she added.
Mulroney also made it clear that these ads do not promote the use of cannabis or the cannabis market. Instead, the ads will focus on social responsibility, which will include the health and addiction risks that come with consuming the drug.
Municipalities can enact their own bylaws
Additionally, Mulroney said that the municipalities will be able to establish bylaws that are beyond the provincial minimum standards restricting smoking weed in areas such as parks. For those municipalities who want to opt out of authorizing brick-and-mortar retail stores to operate, they will have until January 22, 2019 to decide.
She also revealed that she, together with Finance Minister Vic Fedeli, did extensive consultations across Ontario and that the government has considered using franchise and contract models before going for a licensing framework. According to her, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is going to be the one overseeing the process.
Ontario’s cannabis law
Ontario will give its new cannabis law a final vote of approval a mere one day before recreational pot officially becomes legal across the country on Oct. 17.
The bill, called the Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act, is separate and is a complete reset of the regulations set by the province’s previous government. This bill is going to open the door to business opportunities for Ontario’s tourism sector and to private sales next spring.
Only online sales for first few months
Under the bill’s current version, recreational pot sales is going to be limited to mail order from October 17 to March.
This means that the only legal sales channel will be online, which is through the government’s own operations: the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp.
The new regime allows for bricks-and-mortar retail stores to be in place by April 1, 2019.
According to a government spokesperson, consumers ordering cannabis online will be required to confirm thrice that they are older than 19 before they can get their order. Confirmation of their age will be required before they enter the online website, upon checkout, and on delivery. Purchases will be limited to 30 grams.
Packages won’t be left at the door.
Moreover, Ontario’s proposed new regulations for legal recreational cannabis would:
- Authorize licensed producers to sell cannabis to consumers at cultivation facilities.
- Give hotel, motel, and bed and breakfast proprietors the prerogative to allow recreational pot consumption in guest rooms. This gives them the chance to capitalize on cannabis tourism.
- Restrict licensed cannabis producers to open one retail location each.
No cap in licenses
As to the total number of licenses that the Ontario government will issue, Mulroney said that there will be no cap. However, she said that there will be limits on the number of licenses that a single operator is allowed to hold in order to ensure that there is diversity in the cannabis market.