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Loosened rules will allow Ontario residents to smoke pot in public

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The Ontario government has unveiled details of where residents can smoke recreational cannabis when it becomes legal in mid-October. The rules are even less strict than proposed by the previous Liberal government.

People in Ontario will be able to smoke marijuana wherever the smoking of tobacco is allowed.   
Under the previous rules proposed by the Liberals, anyone over 19 would only have been able to smoke cannabis in private residences. Now the can smoke pot when they walk down the street or in public places.

In addition, there will not be a ceiling on the number of pot shops when the province begins licensing and regulating the private retail marketplace.

“This is an opportunity for small business to get involved. We want to have as many participants as possible be involved,” said Ontario finance minister Vic Fedelli.
Those retailers would have to follow provincial laws and be a certain distance from schools. Pot smoking will still be prohibited while operating a vehicle or a boat and doing so could result in fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Breaking the rules would also mean not being able to obtain a license in the future.
Fedelli suggested the new rules are not good news for those who have already been selling cannabis in the so-called grey market.
“If you are operating an illegal cannabis store after October 17, you will not be able to get a license in Ontario,” he said
The marketplace will be regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. A government agency called the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation would handle online sales and wholesale to private retailers.

Ontario municipalities that don’t want pot shops have until January 22, 2019 to opt out.

WBFO’s comprehensive news coverage extends into Southern Ontario and Dan Karpenchuk is the station’s voice from the north. The award-winning reporter covers binational issues, including economic trends, the environment, tourism and transportation.
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