Ontarios private cannabis retailers open their doors on April 1, and here are the rules

Ontario\s private cannabis retailers open their doors on April 1, and here are the rules

Ontario Legislature Tabling New Cannabis Retail Framework Legislation – Food, Drugs, Healthcare, Life Sciences – Canada

WestJet employees wont be able to smoke weed, despite Canada legalizing the drug for recreational use.  (iStock)

While thousands of Canadians can soon legally light up a bowl, airlines in the country are banning their employees from partaking in the recreational activity.

WestJet Airlines updated its Alcohol and Drug Policy ahead of the country’s marijuana legalization, which goes into effect Oct. 17.

Employees of the company were notified of the changes Tuesday morning, which prevents specific employees in "safety-sensitive” positions from using cannabis either on or off duty. Some such positions include flight and cabin crew members, flight dispatchers, aircraft maintenance engineers and station attendants, CBC.ca reports.

“We believe these changes reflect our reputation as an industry leader in safety and our expectations that all employees report fit for duty and remain fit for duty at work,” a WestJet Airlines spokesperson told Fox News.

“With the utmost priority placed on safety, the use, possession and distribution of cannabis will be strictly prohibited on company premises, company work sites, while on duty and at company social functions,” the spokesperson said.

Canada became the second and largest country to legalize a national marijuana marketplace. Uruguay launched legal sales last year, after several years of planning.

It’s a profound social shift promised by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and fueled by a desire to bring the black market into a regulated, taxed system after nearly a century of prohibition.

On September 26, 2018 Attorney General and the Minister of Finance released highly anticipated information regarding the proposed legislation on private cannabis retail store ownership. The legislation is expected to be released this morning with regulations to follow.

According to the proposed legislation the Ontario Cannabis Store (“OCS”) will be the exclusive wholesaler and distributor of cannabis to private cannabis retail stores and will be the sole option for individuals to purchase cannabis online. The OCS will report directly to the Minister of Finance, and will no-longer be a subsidiary of the LCBO. Further, it will undergo a name-change and be called the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (“OCRC”).

The proposed legislation will also offer insight into how licenses will be regulated. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (“AGCO”), will be the provincial regulator and will not only be authorized to grant store licenses, but will have authority to revoke them in order to enforce compliance with conditions set by the province.

Private cannabis retail will be incorporated in the existing public framework by utilizing a two-way regulatory approach. This approach will require businesses to obtain both a retail operating license and a retail store authorization from the AGCO for every retail store they will own. Further, there will be no cap placed on the number of cannabis retail licenses that may be issued in Ontario. However, there will be limits on the number of licenses issued to a single corporation. That number is yet to be determined and should be included in the final regulations.

With a proposed 15-day notice period the public will be kept informed and consulted on where private cannabis retailers will be located. Further, the proposed legislation will also afford municipalities an one-time option to opt-out of having cannabis retail stores in their communities before January 22, 2019 and will allow the province to place distance buffers between cannabis stores and schools.

Current cannabis retail owners operating in the black market who do not close-up shop before October 17, 2018, will be subject to enforcement and will lose their opportunity to obtain any private cannabis retail license in the future as they will be in direct violation of the new legislation.

The Ontario Government proposed amendments to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act so that recreational users may smoke cannabis in areas where smoking tobacco and e-cigarettes are permitted. Prohibitions will be placed on smoking cannabis in motor vehicles or boats in order to ensure public safety. However, smoking cannabis may be permitted in certain enclosed workplaces such as long-term care homes, hospices and designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns.

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