Ontario plans to double the number of cannabis stores a retailer can operate from 75 to 150 and is proposing to ban the cultivation of cannabis in homes that offer childcare services.
While the change to the retail store cap is expected to take place early next year, the change in cannabis cultivation rules is part of new proposed legislation. The provincial government is also considering different enforcement options against illegal online cannabis sales.
The new omnibus legislation, the Enhancing Access to Justice Act, 2023, would also further support negotiations with First Nations communities on the regulation of cannabis on reserves.
The province says the store cap increase will help combat the illicit market. The current cap of 75 stores came into force in 2021. Ontario currently has about 1,800 retail cannabis stores listed as authorized to open.
Ontario’s Attorney General Doug Downey said the fact cannabis can be cultivated in home-based child care facilities is “deeply unsettling and inappropriate,” noting that BC has a similar restriction already in place.
“Five years ago the federal government decided that cannabis would be legal in this country and part of the new legislation was to allow the cultivation of up to four cannabis plants at home,” said Downey. “As it stands, cannabis can be grown in home-based child care facilities. We find this deeply unsettling and inappropriate, and quite frankly I never imagined we would need to legislate this.”
Raj Grover, the President and CEO at High Tide Inc. says he was pleased with the proposed change. High Tide owns Canna Cabana, with 63 locations in Ontario listed by the AGCO. Other notable retail cannabis chains in Ontario are True North with 51, Sessions with 47, and Spiritleaf with 40.