In preparation for the upcoming cannabis legalization deadline, here are five aspects of the Ontario budget that outline its sale, distribution, enforcement, and revenue expectations:
- The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation, a subsidiary of the LCBO assembled to manage the province’s sales and distribution of marijuana, is not slated to generate profits until 2019/2020, due to retail network start up costs. In fact the corporation is expecting an $8-million dollar loss in the first year with a further $40-million loss in 2018-2019. By 2019/2020, it is expected that the OCRC will generate a net income of $35 million, with $100 million expected in 2020/2021.
- A Cannabis Intelligence Coordination Centre will be created by the provincial government to shut down black markets and illegal cannabis storefronts.
- Ontario will establish a specialized legal team which will prosecute drug-impaired driving cases, and plans to fund sobriety field test training for law enforcement agencies.
- Municipalities of Ontario will receive $40 million over the first two years of legalization to assist with the expense of managing recreational pot usage. The Ontario Cannabis Legalization Fund will be made possible by Ontario’s portion of the federal excise duty on recreational cannabis (75%).
- Status Indians, bands, and band councils will be required to pay the full 13% HST for off-reserve purchases of recreational cannabis; however, a rebate of 8% (provincial portion) is possible for off-reserve purchases of medical marijuana obtained from a licensed producer.