Frequently Asked Quesions
How does cannabis impact you?
Ontario cannabis legislation came into effect October 17, 2018.
The legislation sets a minimum age of 19 to use, buy, possess and grow cannabis in Ontario.
Edibles are not yet legally available in Canada. The government intends to authorize the legal sale of edible cannabis products and concentrates no later than October, 2019. By that time, regulations would be made to address the specific risks associated with these types of products.
As per the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, cannabis users are permitted to smoke cannabis outdoors in places where cigarette smoking and e-cigarettes are allowed, unless additional organizational restrictions apply.
Can the Township regulate the location of cannabis stores?
The provincial government’s Bill 36, Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act, 2018 has authorized the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario as the licensing authority for private cannabis retail stores. Under the provincial legislation, the Township cannot regulate the location of Cannabis stores.
The Cannabis Licence Act, 2018, section 42(2) states that the Township’s ability to pass a by-law under the Planning Act, such as a land use regulation or zoning by-law, does not include the authority to pass a by-law that would regulate based on a use of land, a building or a structure for the sale of cannabis.
The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) is seeking clarification on municipal zoning by-law implications – whether cannabis stores will have to follow municipal zoning for commercial retail land uses, or whether they are exempt from the municipal zoning by-laws.
Can residents appeal a proposed location of a cannabis store?
The provincial government’s Bill 36 states that the Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario must consider, among other things, the public interest, having regard to the needs and wishes of the residents of the municipality.
The proposed legislation would allow for public notice of an application for a cannabis retail store and an opportunity to make written submissions. Written submissions must be made no later than 15 days after the public notice is first given. The provincial government’s Licence Appeal Tribunal would be authorized to adjudicate appeals relating to cannabis retail store licences, similar to its process for alcohol licences.
Can the Township prohibit cannabis stores from being located in the municipality?
The provincial government is allowing municipalities to “opt out” by passing a resolution by January 22, 2019, to prohibit cannabis retail stores from being located in the municipality. If a municipality decides to opt out, it could then choose to lift the prohibition through a subsequent motion, but that decision would be final – the municipality would not be able to continue to go back and forth between allowing and prohibiting cannabis retail stores.
Even if a municipality prohibits cannabis retail stores from being located in the municipality, cannabis use would remain legal in the municipality under federal and provincial laws and the online sale of cannabis would continue to take place through the provincial government’s online retailer.
Note: At the Meeting of Council, 10 December 2018, Council approved privately operated recreational cannabis retail stores within the Township of Ignace in accordance with Bill 36 and as regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).
Are there restrictions on where a cannabis retail store can be located?
The Cannabis Licence Act, 2018, would set a minimum distance that a cannabis retail store must be located away from a school as well as “any other prescribed land use.”
Will cannabis be sold in the same places as tobacco, such as convenience stores?
The proposed provincial legislation requires that only cannabis and any other things that may be specified by regulations made under the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018, may be sold in a cannabis retail store.
Where will people be allowed to smoke cannabis?
The provincial government is making the regulations on where people can use cannabis the same as the regulations that are in place for using tobacco under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.
For example, it is illegal to smoke or hold lighted tobacco or cannabis on and within 20 metres of:
- A children’s playground;
- Publicly owned sport field or sport surface, such as a basketball court, baseball field, soccer pitch, ice rink, splash pad or beach volleyball court; and
- Public or private school property as well as in any common areas of condos, apartment buildings or college and university residences.
The Smoke-Free Ontario Act does allow a municipality to further restrict where people can smoke cannabis.
Can the Township regulate cannabis retail stores through a business licensing by-law?
No. The Cannabis Licence Act, 2018, section 42(1) states that the authority to pass a business licensing by-law under the Municipal Act, 2001, or under the Toronto Act, 2006, does not include the authority to pass a by-law for licensing the sale of cannabis or for other authorizations that are provided under the Cannabis Licence Act.
Who will be enforcing the new cannabis laws?
The enforcement will largely fall to police officers and public health units, with public health as the enforcement agency for the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.