Today is the day in London, in Ontario, and in all of Canada. Recreational cannabis purchase has been legalized.

But where can you buy it in London, ON?

Nowhere.

Not legally, anyway.  

For more than a year now, the London Relief Centre on Richmond Row has been the only dispensary in London that never required a doctor’s prescription for marijuana. Along with (or due to) that, it has helped thousands of individuals with a wide range of ailments, from arthritis to anxiety.

However, as of 11:59 p.m. on October 16, 2018, all private pot retailers in Ontario were told to close their doors. If they remain open, they will be ineligible for any future licensing of a cannabis retail store.

The LRC declined to comment over the phone on whether they would be operational after October 17, 2018.

Moving forward…

Earlier this summer, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives provided hope to many cannabis retailers in operation. He stated that the government run Ontario Cannabis Store would remain the wholesaler to private stores but they would indeed open, eventually. Starting in December of this year, those private retailers will have the opportunity to apply for licensing to operate legally in Ontario as of April 2019.

This is a positive move on the pot front and in terms of legalization generally. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kept his campaign promise made back in 2015 – that’s always a political plus – and we’re finally getting places in this province and in this country.

But, what does good old Uncle Doug’s approach mean for the private dispensaries who were open prior to, well, yesterday? These people helped pioneer this industry, building a foundation of over-the-counter shops, pre-government intervention.

Ontario isn’t the only province either that is in favour of sole government operation at present. We’re joined by Quebec, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. In all other regions, there’s a mix of both government run and private stores providing cannabis sales.

What’s to come?

So, who will receive a license come April 2019 once (presumably) hundreds of applications have been submitted? That remains to be seen, so all we can do currently is hope for the best and anticipate a potentially thriving business opportunity here in London and across the country.

Until then, the potential for the Canadian Government and taxpayer to lose millions of dollars to the black market while regulation research continues is great. Add in price point, and things get trickier still.

Bring on the spring in Ontario

Let’s get this business settled.

Cannabis Quick Facts (Ontario)

  • Legal purchase can only be made online through the Ontario Cannabis Store
  • You must be 19+ to purchase
  • Only dried and fresh pot, seeds, plants, and oils are available legally
  • Edible items, extracts, and concentrates are not available
  • You can smoke it up in private residences and some public places but be sure to check if unsure because there are restrictions
  • You can’t smoke in a car or boat that is being driven or “at risk of being put into motion”
  • You can possess a maximum of 30 grams (about one ounce)
  • You can grow up to four plants per residence
  • Work can be stressful but don’t try lighting up on the clock
  • There are different regulations for medical cannabis
  • There’s lots more where this came from (see below)  

Pot is legal, yes, but that comes with a whole lot of rules and regulations so get them straight and make sure to smoke responsibly. For the full rundown click here.

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