Sask. government launches cannabis survey as part of 'aggressive' legalization timeline: minister

Province solicits public feedback on pot legalization

The country's most populous province is the first to flesh out its plans for the Canada-wide legalization of the substance.

The Ontario government today announced that recreational marijuana will be sold only at dozens of province-run stores and through a province-run web site after the federal government passes legislation legalizing recreational cannabis next July.

Forty cannabis stores will be up and running when recreational marijuana becomes legal across the country next July, Sousa said, with another 40 opening within the next twelve months.

The process of purchasing recreational cannabis will be very similar to the one in place for alcohol at the LCBO, with a minimum age of 19, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi. "We have been fighting the government retail model for two years now, but the writing was on the wall". "It's going to be controlled by the government".

Naqvi, Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Health Minister Eric Hoskins made Friday's announcement.

The government of the Canadian state of Ontario has come under fire for its plan to effectively monopolize the recreational cannabis trade by selling it through state-run shops and online.

He said the government has been working on the pot file for about a year. A province-wide campaign will also be launched to draw the public's attention to the rules, in addition to harm reduction strategies.

He said provincial officials will meet with municipalities and law enforcement officials to create a plan of attack.

Marijuana will be sold behind the counter at government stores, he said, without a self-serve option.

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"That means there'll be a bigger impact on us as it relates to policing costs and dealing with those issues", Bradley said.

Decisions on pricing and taxation will be made once the federal government provides further details.

While there are pros and cons to high so-called sin taxes, tobacco price increases have been blamed for driving customers to illegal smoke shacks, a possibility with marijuana too. "Whatever they end up calling it, it's the right model".

Ontario's Liberal government announced its marijuana-related plans amid an Election Act bribery trial involving Premier Kathleen Wynne's former deputy chief of staff, a politically fraught situation for the Grits that is connected to a 2015 byelection. This comes after a period of debate among several provinces and Ontario releasing a survey to citizens for how marijuana will be sold.

Dispensaries that have cropped up across the province will remain illegal and will be shut down, Naqvi said.

As part of the plan, 80 stand-alone stores will be opened by July 1, 2019, with a stated goal of 150 to be opened by 2020.

"The online, I think, really makes this compelling", said Reicin.

Jodie Emery, co-owner of Cannabis Culture, told the Toronto Star that the government should allow private storefronts to continue.

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