The federal government of Canada has legalized recreational cannabis in Canada. The Cannabis Act is the legal and regulatory framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of recreational cannabis in Canada and was put in place by the federal government with the purpose of keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth, keeping profits out of the pockets of criminals and protecting public health and safety by allowing adults access to legal cannabis.  

Under the Cannabis Act, each province and territory is responsible for setting its own rules for how cannabis can be sold, where stores can be located, and how stores must be operated. Provinces and territories may also set additional restrictions they feel are necessary. As a result, the Government of Ontario has worked to implement a safe, legal system for cannabis retail that is intended to protect youth, protect roads and combat the illegal market for cannabis.  

Under Ontario’s regulatory model, the AGCO has been given the responsibility of licensing eligible retail store operators, authorizing cannabis retail stores and regulating the sale of cannabis. The AGCO’s focus is on the safe, responsible and lawful sale of cannabis, consistent with the legislation enacted by the provincial government. Its regulatory objectives are to ensure that the retail sale of cannabis in Ontario is carried out with honesty, integrity and in the public interest as set out in the Cannabis Licence Act, its regulations and the AGCO Registrar’s Standards.  

As legalization of cannabis is new to Ontario, the AGCO’s regulatory approach may evolve as the industry evolves. 

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