Part of cannabis laws and regulations
The Ontario government is launching a public awareness campaign next week aimed at educating young people about the risks of cannabis use as the drug is legalized across the country on Oct. 17.
Attorney-General Caroline Mulroney, speaking at a luncheon at Toronto’s Empire Club, said the campaign will be used to educate people about the rules, regulations and health and safety measures surrounding the use of marijuana.
She said the government is particularly focused on reaching young people on digital and social-media channels, and on television and across university and college campuses. She said the ads will appear in 10 languages.
“It goes without saying that these ads do not promote cannabis use or the cannabis market – but will instead focus on social responsibility, including the health and addiction risks of short and long-term cannabis use,” Ms. Mulroney told the room, which included members of the cannabis industry.
She also said municipalities will be able to enact bylaws beyond the provincial minimum standards that restrict smoking cannabis in places such as parks. Municipalities who wish to opt out of allowing brick-and-mortar retail stores will have until Jan. 22 of next year to decide.
Ms. Mulroney stressed that she and Finance Minister Vic Fedeli engaged in “extensive consultations” across the province and revealed that the government considered franchise and contract models before deciding on a licensing framework. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will oversee the process.
Ms. Mulroney said the total number of licenses issued in the province will not be capped, but there will be limits on how many licences a single operator can hold “to ensure diversity in the market.”
“While certain previous activity in the illegal market will not, on its own, bar an applicant from participating, no applicant can have ties to organized crime,” she said.
Ontario will only allow online sales through its own operations when cannabis becomes legal. The new regime, which will allow for bricks-and-mortar stores, will be in place by April 1, 2019.
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