Ontario Cannabis Framework and legislation


In April 2017, the federal government introduced legislation to legalize and regulate recreational cannabis in Canada. If passed, the proposed federal Cannabis Act would create rules for producing, possessing and selling cannabis across Canada.

We are committed to ensuring a safe and sensible transition to federal legalization by ensuring cannabis remains a carefully controlled substance subject to strict rules to protect youth and young adults.

  Ontario Cannabis 

Ontario rules

Ontario’s new cannabis legislation helps protect youth and young adults, keep our roads and communities safe, and ensure a safe and sensible approach to cannabis legalization.

19+ only

It will be illegal for people under the age of 19 to buy, sell, have and share recreational cannabis.

This is the same as the minimum age for the sale of tobacco and alcohol in Ontario.

Retail and online ordering

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) will oversee the sale and distribution of recreational cannabis through a subsidiary corporation, taking advantage of its experience in distributing controlled substances and commitments to social responsibility.

When legalized by the federal government, cannabis will be sold:

  • in stores under strict retailing standards that meet federal requirements for cannabis sales
  • online where products would be delivered securely and safely across the province

Cannabis will not be sold in the same stores as alcohol.

We expect:

  • online distribution to be available across the province
  • about 40 stand-alone cannabis stores open for day one
  • 80 stores open by July 1, 2019, and 150 stores open by 2020

The Ministry of Finance and the LCBO have been engaging with municipalities to discuss the process for siting stores, and are providing updates throughout this process.

Additional details about the retail and distribution system will be determined as we continue to work with municipalities, Indigenous communities and other stakeholders.

Learn more about our retail model for recreational cannabis.

Limiting use in public

To protect the health and well-being of everyone in Ontario, especially children, youth and other vulnerable people, we will restrict where cannabis can be used, including limiting exposure to second-hand smoke and vapour. This is similar to Ontario’s existing laws for alcohol and tobacco.

Under the new rules, you will:

People who are authorized to have and use medical cannabis will be subject to the same rules as tobacco smoking and electronic cigarette use.

Medical users will not be allowed to smoke or vape medical cannabis in enclosed workplaces, enclosed public places, motor vehicles and other smoke-free places, with a few exceptions.

Learn more about our plan to protect people from the health hazards of cannabis.

Keeping roads safe

Keeping Ontario’s roads safe is a critical part of our approach to the federal government’s legalization of cannabis.

We have passed new rules that will make drug-impaired driving laws even tougher, including:

  • enhancing existing impaired driving penalties
  • creating a zero-tolerance approach for young, novice and commercial drivers

Learn more about our plan to keep Ontario’s roads safe.

Protecting youth and promoting prevention

We are developing an integrated prevention and harm reduction strategy to help protect young people. This will help educators, health officials, youth workers and service providers to address and prevent substance abuse.

In the lead-up to cannabis becoming legal, we will launch a public information campaign to raise awareness about these new laws. We will also support the federal government’s planned national public awareness campaign.

Engaging our partners

To help us develop a responsible approach to regulate cannabis in Ontario, we have:

  • worked with our partners across the province, including public health experts, law enforcement, community agencies and businesses
  • consulted with municipalities and other jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis
  • initiated engagement with Indigenous communities
  • engaged the public through an online survey to get input and feedback