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A Whole New World: Buying Legal Weed in Ontario

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In June 2018, Canada became the first major economy, and the second country in the world, to legalize recreational cannabis. This made major headlines around the world.

“We’ve just witnessed a historic vote for Canada, the end of 90 years of prohibition,” said Tony Dean, the senator who sponsored the bill in the Senate.

Since legalization in October 2018, people have been buying weed online from the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), a Crown corporation of the government of Ontario. For the first six months of legalization, this was the only legal way to buy.

On April 1, 2019, the first brick-and-mortar stores opened across Ontario, drawing long lines of enthusiastic consumers and curiosity seekers.


More than 50 people gathered outside Central Cannabis in London, Ont., before it opened its doors. The animated man at the head of the line, Jason Geldof, had driven in from Goderich, Ont., thrilled when he left the store with his purchase.

“It’s nothing to be ashamed of,” he said, holding up his receipt for all to see. “I think we can bring it out into the public eye. It’s clean. We’re all respectable people. We’re all adults”.

Still have questions about the legal weed industry here in Ontario? We’ve got answers:

Who oversees the licensed recreational stores?

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is the provincial regulator for private cannabis retail stores. They grant stores their licenses and make sure they operate and sell weed safely within the law.

How do I know if a store is operating legally?

Under the Cannabis Licence Act (Ontario), operators of authorized cannabis retail stores must display the Provincial Retail Seal in a place you can see from the public entrance to the store.

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