On December 12, 2019, the government announced that it is taking steps to move to an open market for retail cannabis sales in Ontario, as it originally intended. This will provide consumers with more choice and convenience and a safe and reliable supply of cannabis. For more information, please visit https://news.ontario.ca/mag/en/2019/12/ontario-opening-cannabis-retail-market.html.
As part of Ontario’s transition to an open market, the government would like your feedback on the potential implementation of additional cannabis business opportunities in the future, including:
- facilitating the sale of
cannabis for consumption in establishments like lounges and cafes (cannabis
consumption establishments); and,
- cannabis special occasion permits (SOPs).
The government is collecting feedback at this time to inform potential decisions about opportunities in an open cannabis market in the future. No changes to the cannabis framework are expected at this time nor is there a current timeframe for any additional changes that may be informed by this feedback.
Cannabis Consumption Establishments and Special Occasion Permits
Cannabis consumption establishments and SOPs, if brought forward, could facilitate the purchase and consumption of cannabis in specified social settings (e.g. cafés, entertainment venues, festivals and events).
Cannabis Consumption Rules
Cannabis can be smoked or vaped in many outdoor public places and in private residences.
The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 (SFOA, 2017) and the regulations under that Act prohibit the smoking of cannabis and the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) to vape any substance (including cannabis) in enclosed workplaces and enclosed public places, as well as other prescribed places (e.g., restaurant and bar patios or within nine metres of these patios).
The SFOA, 2017 also prohibits drivers and passengers from consuming any form of cannabis (smoking, vaping, eating) in vehicles and boats that are being driven or will be driven, subject to certain exceptions.
The SFOA, 2017 is not the only source of smoking and vaping restrictions in Ontario. Additional restrictions on cannabis consumption may be found in municipal bylaws and the policies of employers and property owners.
The government is not considering changes to the SFOA regime as part of this consultation.
For more information on Ontario’s cannabis consumption rules, please visit www.ontario.ca/cannabis.
Other Forms of Cannabis Products
On June 26, 2019, Health Canada published regulations for the production and sale of three new classes of cannabis products:
- cannabis edibles – cannabis products that can be consumed in the same manner as food (e.g. food or beverage)
- cannabis extracts – cannabis products that are produced using extraction processing methods or by synthesizing phytocannabinoids (e.g., oils, capsules, hash, wax)
- cannabis topicals – cannabis products that can be used on a body surface (e.g. lotion)
These new federal regulations came into force on October 17, 2019 and the new classes of cannabis products became available for sale in Ontario on January 6, 2020.
For more information on Health Canada’s rules for edibles, extracts and topicals, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/news/2019/06/health-canada-finalizes-regulations-for-the-production-and-sale-of-edible-cannabis-cannabis-extracts-and-cannabis-topicals.html
At this time, no other Canadian jurisdiction has implemented a framework for cannabis consumption establishments, like lounges or cafes, or SOPs.
Some jurisdictions in the United States that have legalized recreational cannabis have allowed regulated cannabis consumption establishments and SOPs where individuals are permitted to consume recreational cannabis. However, it should be noted that in those states, the consumption of recreational cannabis is restricted to private residences only (i.e. cannabis consumption is not permitted in any public place). In these jurisdictions, cannabis consumption establishments/SOPs might assist in mitigating certain equity issues in a more restrictive consumption rules framework (e.g. tourism, individuals who are not permitted to consume cannabis in their private residence per condominium/building policies).
Please provide your feedback to the questions below on this form and submit to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The closing date for providing feedback is March 10, 2020.