We appreciate your patience as we work through this complex early stage of setting up operations for the retail sales of legal recreational cannabis. Along the way, we know you’ll have questions. This is where you’ll find answers to some of the most commons questions we’ve been asked so far. For policy and legislative updates, you can visit ontario.ca/cannabis – but beyond that, if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for here, feel free to contact us
Q: Why did the Federal government decide to legalize cannabis?
A: The Government of Canada has chosen to legalize cannabis to create a legal framework around production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis in Canada. More information about the federal framework can be found here.
Q: How will this impact LCBO’s business?
A: As the LCBO welcomes its new responsibility to set up a subsidiary to support the retail sales of cannabis, we will continue to deliver in the beverage alcohol business, ensuring that the LCBO meets our operational objectives.
Q: Where will cannabis be sold?
A: Under the proposed approach, Ontario will open 40 stores by July 2018, growing to 80 by July 2019, and up to 150 stand-alone cannabis stores by the end of 2020.
Stores would be complemented by an online channel that would provide all Ontarians with a safe and secure way to legally purchase cannabis, by July 2018.
Q. Will cannabis be sold in the LCBO? Would the new cannabis stores also sell alcohol?
A: No. Cannabis and alcohol will not be sold alongside each other. This is consistent with the recommendations of the Government of Canada’s Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation.
Q: What will be the name of the agency?
The legal name is the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC). But, a brand name and visual identity will be developed and announced at a later date. You can follow LCBO on Twitter @LCBONews and visit www.lcbo.com for more information and updates.
Q: What kinds of cannabis products will be for sale?
A: Cannabis will be sold in the forms allowed under proposed federal law. These forms would initially include dried and fresh cannabis, cannabis oil, as well as cannabis accessories. Edibles will not be sold until such times as the federal government may choose to make these legal.
Q: When will you know the locations of your stores?
A: We are looking forward to sharing more details about proposed retail stores, including information on locations and how they will operate. We plan to announce more information about store locations soon.
Q: What will the stores look like?
A: We are actively working through the early planning and design stages for the retail framework of stores, and the online sales functionality. We look forward to sharing more details on the appearance and functionality of this retail network.
Q: How will you be purchasing product supply for the stores?
A: The production of cannabis in Canada is overseen by the Government of Canada. Details on licensed cannabis producers can be found on Health Canada’s website.
These are producers are currently licensed to produce cannabis for medical purposes under the Government of Canada’s Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). Under proposed federal legislation, the federal government is expected to begin licensing producers to produce cannabis for recreational purposes ahead of July 2018.
The LCBO is currently considering opportunities to source cannabis from producers that will be licensed by the federal government to produce cannabis for recreational purposes. Information on suppliers that will source Ontario’s retail stores and online channel will be available closer to July 2018.
Q: Who will be staffing the stores, how will they be trained?
A: We are committed to training every employee with the same care and expertise used for the LCBO’s alcohol sales. They will be educated and trained in terms of responsible sale practices, product expertise, understanding the new law, and recognizing signs of intoxication. These stores will operate with the same socially-responsible retailing standards that apply to alcohol, as well as additional federal requirements for cannabis sales. For example:
- Ontario will comply with federal requirements that restrict advertising, do not permit products to be visible to youth and require a behind-the-counter type of retail environment.
- All sales will be assisted via counter service, and there will be no self-service. Retail staff will follow strict requirements for age verification.
- There will be mandatory training for retail staff. Staff will have knowledge of the individual products and public health information about how to use cannabis responsibly.
- Product types and formats will need to meet the federal government’s requirements, including forthcoming federal regulations on packaging and labeling information.
- Ontario would work closely with municipalities to consider community interests when choosing store locations (e.g., proximity to schools).
Q: Where will stores be located?
A: The Government of Ontario has committed to ensuring the distribution of the initial 40 retail stores prioritizes geographic distribution across the province and considers the goal of reducing the number of illegal stores, including dispensaries, currently operating in Ontario.
Municipalities where stores are to be located will be identified in stages and updates will be posted on our main page, as they are identified.
Municipalities that are selected for initial stores will be engaged to ensure that local community interests are taken into consideration when selecting specific store sites.
Following the selection of specific store locations, a posting will be made at each physical site to inform the public that a store will be located there. Further information on that store’s operation and a forum to submit questions and concerns about a specific store will be available online to the public.
Q: How were the municipalities that will have a store in July 2018 identified?
A: In accordance with the province’s safe and sensible approach, two primary considerations are being used to guide the identification of municipalities where stores will be located:
- To achieve geographic distribution of stores across the province
- To reduce the number of illegal stores, including dispensaries, currently in operation
Municipalities will be identified on an ongoing basis.
Q: Once you identify the municipality, how will you decide where the stores will be located?
A: As municipalities are identified in stages, the Province and the LCBO will hold meetings with officials of each individual municipality to discuss the store siting process. The LCBO has also launched this website to transparently identify the selected municipalities, and will continue to update the site as additional municipalities are notified of the intention to locate a store in their jurisdictions.
Q: Will the public be engaged on where stores will be located?
A: When a prospective store site has been identified, the LCBO will post public notices at the location, and on its website, to let the public know that a space has been selected for a storefront. As part of this process, the LCBO will provide information to the public that outlines the store’s operations and how local impacts would be mitigated. Members of the public will have the opportunity to submit questions and concerns through this process.
Q: When will we know the sites of the stores?
As individual store sites are identified, public notices will be posted, and communicated on the LCBO information site lcbocannabisupdates.ca.
Q: What measures are you taking to protect against underage purchases?
A: We will be taking responsibility not to serve minors, intoxicated persons, or those buying for either. We take this seriously. Preventing sales to anyone under the designated legal purchasing age of 19 for cannabis sales, and to intoxicated people, will remain a priority as we continue our focus as a responsible retailer.
We already know the customer’s experience of purchasing product at a retail location for cannabis will differ from LCBO stores. For example, government-issued photo identification will be required at the store’s entrance. More details about the stores’ functionality will be announced in the coming months.
Q: What measure are you taking to protect against underage online purchases?
A: Online sales will allow for secure and safe delivery across the province. Products would be stored, packed and distributed in a safe and controlled manner. All of the same delivery safeguards that exist now for online alcohol sales would apply, including:
- ID checks
- Signatures upon delivery
- No packages left unattended at the door
Additional details are being developed to ensure a safe and sensible approach to online sales of cannabis in Ontario.
Q: Will those who require cannabis for medical purposes be able to purchase from these retail stores and online?
A: The Government of Canada will continue to oversee the production and sale of medical cannabis. Under federal requirements, eligible persons would continue to access medical cannabis by purchasing directly from a federally licensed seller of cannabis for medical purposes. Information on this process can be found on Health Canada’s website.
Q: How will online ordering work?
A: The online channel will be designed to complement stores by providing secure and safe delivery across the whole province.
Products would be stored, packed and distributed in a safe and controlled manner. At a minimum, the same safeguards that exist now for our online alcohol sales would apply, including ID checks and signatures upon delivery, and no packages left unattended at the door.
Q: Who will be delivering the product?
A: We don’t know yet – but it’s important to us is that the same safeguards that exist now for our online alcohol sales would apply, including ID checks and signatures upon delivery, and no packages left unattended at the door.
Q: What are the delivery times?
A: That’s still to be determined. But, we do aim for a delivery process that makes sense for our customers.
Q: Where will you deliver?
A: We will deliver, safely and securely, across the entire province.
Q. Where can outstanding questions regarding the retailing of cannabis in Ontario be submitted?
A: As we prepare to launch retail stores and online sales of cannabis in Ontario, beginning in July 2018, Ontarians may submit any outstanding questions directly here.