London high on the list of Ontario cities to get government-run pot shops
LCBO released a list of 14 cities, which will be among the first to receive the stores
London is among the first cities in Ontario that will get some of the first standalone pot shops when marijuana is legalized next summer, the LCBO announced Friday.
The LCBO and the Ministry of Finance identified the first 14 municipalities that will be home to the LCBO-run stores.
London, Kitchener and Windsor were chosen as locations in Southwestern Ontario as the federal government prepares to legalize marijuana on July 1, 2018.
The locations of the stores have not yet been chosen, but the Ministry of Finance and the LCBO said they will meet with the chosen municipalities in the coming weeks to discuss options for locations.
They say when a location is chosen, a public notice will be posted online, and at the physical site. The public will then have the chance to ask questions about the location before its officially confirmed.
The government bodies say their goal is to have shops "not in close proximity to schools, while providing access within communities and addressing the illegal market."
The province plans to set up about 150 standalone shops by 2020. It aims to open 80 by July 2019.
Additional municipalities will be identified on an ongoing basis.
Here is the full list:
- Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario was the first province to announce a detailed plan to sell and distribute recreational marijuana and will set the legal age to purchase it at 19.
The federal government introduced legislation in April with a goal of legalizing and regulating the use of recreational pot by July 1, 2018, but left it up to individual provinces to design their own distribution system and usage regulations.
Consumption of legal weed will not be allowed in public spaces or workplaces and should be confined to private residences, the province has said.
The government introduced its marijuana legislation earlier this week, which contains new penalties for people that are convicted of illegally selling or distributing cannabis, including fines of up to $250,000 and/or jail of up to two years less a day.
For every day those people or businesses continue to sell marijuana after being convicted the first time, they will be subject to further fines of up to $100,000 and $500,000, respectively.
Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said the government will clamp down on illegal distribution channels.
"We are going to work very hard towards that," he said. "We have put very strict penalties in that regard. We feel very comfortable that the regime that we will put in place will be a significant deterrent for these illegal businesses."
With files from The Canadian Press