Ontario Government Launches Consultation on Expanding Cannabis Business Opportunities


On February 10, 2020, the Government of Ontario announced its decision to launch consultations in order to provide consumers with more choice and convenience with regards to cannabis, while also providing the private sector the ability to fight against the black market.

The Government of Ontario hopes this consultation will allow private sector business to build a safe and convenient cannabis retail system to combat the illegal market while at the same time keeping kids and communities safe. The feedback received from this consultation will provide the government with next steps and ideas on how to implement certain expanded cannabis business opportunities based on public interest and a responsible approach to protecting families and communities.

This consultation provides a great opportunity for individuals to share their thoughts and ideas regarding potential cannabis business opportunities. The online consultation asks public, businesses, health and other stakeholders to comment on potential new cannabis opportunities, including consumption venues and special occasion permits (SOPs) for events such as outdoor festivals and concerts. Cannabis consumption establishments and special occasion permits, if brought forward, would facilitate the purchase and consumption of cannabis in specified social settings (e.g. cafés, entertainment venues, festivals and events).

The government will also meet with key groups, including industry representatives, public health and safety organizations, education stakeholders and Indigenous representatives, to ensure their expertise and advice help to inform next steps.

The questions that are asked as part of the consultation are as follows:

  1. Taking into consideration the places of use rules for cannabis under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 (SFOA, 2017), should the government consider facilitating the sale of cannabis for consumption in establishments like lounges and cafes in Ontario? Why or why not?
  2. If cannabis consumption establishments were considered in Ontario, what other products should be permitted for sale in those establishments (e.g. cannabis accessories, food/beverage products that do not contain cannabis)?
  3. In Ontario, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) oversees the administration of an alcohol SOP program, which allows for the sale and service of alcohol at special occasions, including large scale events that are open to the public, such as festivals. Should the government consider establishing a similar SOP program for cannabis to be sold and consumed at festivals and events? Why or why not? If yes, what conditions should be included (e.g. should alcohol consumption at the same event be restricted, should the event be age-restricted to 19+, what methods of cannabis consumption should be permitted)?
  4. Are there any additional risks/opportunities created by cannabis consumption establishments or SOPs when compared to authorized cannabis retail stores?
  5. What should be a municipality’s involvement, if any, in a potential framework for cannabis consumption establishments or SOPs?

If you’re interested in participating in the consultation, you can submit your feedback online by visiting the Ontario Regulatory Registry using this link. The consultation will be open for comments until March 10, 2020. This consultation is part of Ontario’s ongoing work to establish a strong, well-considered legal cannabis market in Ontario. At this time, no other Canadian jurisdiction has implemented a framework for cannabis consumption establishments, like lounges or cafes, or special occasion permits.

How we can help you

Cannabis License Experts is your solution to preparing, reviewing and submitting your cannabis retail licence application. We offer support from day one of starting your cannabis business, including strategic planning, floor plan preparation, site audits, SOPs and more.

Our Edibles Compliance division can provide you with a solid plan for your edibles business to help get your products on store shelves. Contact us today to discover how we can license and legalize your cannabis business to meet federal or provincial regulations.



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