The Cannabis Act, 2017 (also known as Bill C-45) was introduced on 1 November 2017 and outlines the rules and regulation for sale of cannabis through the province of Ontario.

The legislation has the following rules for the sale of cannabis in Ontario:

  • All sales will be controlled by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), who will set up a subsidiary to sell cannabis both in retail outlets and online;
  • In the case of orders being made online, the delivery must be made by a federal mailing organisation (in other words, Canada Post);
  • The minimum age to purchase, possess and use cannabis in Ontario is 19;
  • Ontarians may not consume cannabis in public places, at work or in vehicles;
  • Adults may possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis;
  • Adults may cultivate up to four cannabis plants but only at their personal residence (this is a household limit, not a per person limit).

It looks likely that initially edibles will not be sold by the LCBO’s cannabis subsidiary, although individuals are permitted to make their own edibles at home.

Marketing of cannabis in Ontario is going to be very heavily restricted. Cannabis brands must not use any images that would appeal to youth, for example cartoon characters, celebrity endorsements or animals (the exact wording is “by means of the depiction of a person, character or animal, whether real or fictional”) and it cannot have brand elements that evoke “a way of life such as one that includes glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring”. Marketing cannot mention price or how the cannabis is distributed. It is also not legal to promote cannabis through event sponsorship or in a place where youth have access to (so you could promote it in a casino where under 19s are not permitted to enter but only bars that are adult-only could promote cannabis brands).

Cannabis companies are allowed to put factual information on the packaging of their product but this is restricted to messages such as the weight and THC levels of the cannabis. It is not even clear whether they are permitted to describe the kind of high that most users will experience from using the cannabis or instructions about how to consume it.

Details of Bill C-45, better know as The Cannabis Act

The intention of The Cannabis Act was to:

(a) protect the health of young persons by restricting their access to cannabis;
(b) protect young persons and others from inducements to use cannabis;
(c) provide for the licit production of cannabis to reduce illicit activities in relation to cannabis;
(d) deter illicit activities in relation to cannabis through appropriate sanctions and enforcement measures;
(e) reduce the burden on the criminal justice system in relation to cannabis;
(f) provide access to a quality-controlled supply of cannabis; and
(g) enhance public awareness of the health risks associated with cannabis use.

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