In December 2018, City Council voted to allow private Cannabis retailers within the city of Toronto. While the Federal Government has legalized the recreational use of marijuana in Canada, its sale by non-licensed, non-medical vendors remains illegal. Operating, or working for, an illegal dispensary can result in arrest and charges including possession and drug trafficking.
Here is a map of the cannabis storefronts in Ward 13, Toronto Centre:
In Ontario, private cannabis retailers are required to obtain provincial licences and meet requirements set out by provincial legislation and regulations.
The new provincial legislation and regulations:
- Do not allow municipalities to designate cannabis retail sales as a separate land use from any other form of retail.
- Exempt cannabis retail stores from municipal licensing requirements.
- Establish the OCRC as the exclusive wholesaler and distributor to private retail stores.
- Establish the OCRC as the exclusive online retailer of cannabis.
- Establish the AGCO as the provincial regulator authorized to grant store licences.
- Retailers will need a Retail Operator Licence, Cannabis Retail Manager Licence and Retail Store Authorization.
- The AGCO will have the authority to enforce compliance; this includes revoking licences from stores that fail to comply with the conditions set by the Province. The AGCO will not enforce against illegal storefronts selling cannabis without a provincial licence. Enforcement will continue to be the responsibility of local law enforcement and municipal bylaw enforcement.
- Prior to issuing retail store authorization, the AGCO will provide a 15-day notification period to receive public input for a proposed site. When reviewing feedback from the public notice process, the AGCO will consider matters related to protecting public health and safety, protecting youth and restricting their access to cannabis, and preventing illicit activities related to cannabis.
- Do not allow the number of retail licences to be capped.
- Prohibit sales and transfers of the licences, and set a market concentration limit of 75 stores province-wide per operator.
- Restrict a cannabis retail store from being located within 150 meters of public and private schools.
- Require that stores are standalone – that is, they cannot be a part of a store or added to stores that sell other products, including pharmacies and stores selling alcohol.
- Prohibit anyone under the age of 19 from accessing a cannabis retail store location.
- Permit stores to sell only cannabis accessories and legally-sourced cannabis.
- Limit hours of operation to between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on any day, consistent with alcohol retail.
- Allow Licensed Producers to operate one store onsite at a production facility.
Residents concerned about unsafe or illegal activities taking place in or near a dispensary are encouraged to contact the Toronto Police. Where the safety of people or property is at risk, call 911. For non-emergency situations that require the attention of police, you can reach the non-emergency dispatcher at 416-808-2222 or file a report online. If you wish to remain anonymous, please reach out to Crime Stoppers, or call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Toronto's Board of Health has made a number of requests to the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario to decriminalize possession, institute plain packaging rules, limit marketing, regulate edibles, set a minimum age of 19 for purchase, prohibit smoking in public places, and to prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle under the influence.
Cannabis Law & Safety
Government of Ontario resources on recreational cannabis and its health effects.
Cannabis & Your Health
City of Toronto's resources on cannabis laws, health impacts of cannabis use, the information you need to know about child safety, driving, youth and pregnant individuals.
Does the city have the authority to impose additional location restrictions on top of what the government has already outlined?
No. Provincial legislation prohibits municipalities from passing a by-law that distinguishes land or building use for cannabis from any other kinds of use. Existing municipal requirements in place that apply to all retail use in that respective municipality, would apply to retail cannabis stores.