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Friday, March 09, 2018

Ontario Supporting Municipalities to Ensure Safe Transition to Federal Cannabis Legalization

Province Also Investing in Police Training, Investigations, and Public Education

Ontario is stepping up support for municipalities and law enforcement to help ensure communities and roads are safe in advance of the federal government's legalization of cannabis.
 
The province will provide $40 million of its revenue from the federal excise duty on recreational cannabis over two years to help all municipalities with implementation costs related to the legalization of cannabis.

In addition, Ontario is taking further steps to ensure a safe and sensible transition for communities and people by:

  • Increasing the capacity of local law enforcement, including the Ontario Provincial Police, by funding sobriety field test training for police officers to help detect impaired drivers
  • Creating a specialized legal team to support drug-impaired driving prosecutions
  • Increasing capacity at the province's Centre of Forensic Sciences to support toxicological testing and expert testimony
  • Developing a program to divert youth involved in minor cannabis-related offences away from the criminal justice system
  • Creating a Cannabis Intelligence Coordination Centre to shut down illegal storefronts and help fight the unsafe and illegal supply of cannabis products
  • Providing public health units with support and resources to help address local needs related to cannabis legalization
  • Raising awareness of the new provincial rules that will take effect when cannabis is legalized federally.

Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
 
Quick Facts:

  • Funding will be distributed to municipalities on a per household basis, adjusted to ensure that each municipal government receives no less than $10,000.
  • If the province’s portion of the revenue from federal excise duty on recreational cannabis for the first two years of legalization exceeds $100 million, the province will provide municipal governments with 50 per cent of the surplus.
  • The Ontario Cannabis Act includes strong deterrents to discourage illegal cannabis activities, including high fines for individuals or corporations convicted of illegal selling or distribution, tough provincial penalties for driving while impaired and zero tolerance for young, novice and commercial drivers who drive with cannabis in their system.
 
Additional Resources:
 

 
Quotes:
 
"Today marks an important step in our commitment to deliver a safe and sensible framework for the federal legalization of cannabis. Ontario’s funding approach, developed in partnership with AMO and the City of Toronto, will provide municipalities with access to funding in advance of federal excise revenues. Ontario will work collaboratively with municipalities and the federal government to continue gathering data on the incremental costs of implementation."

 — Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance

"Cannabis use and distribution will be strictly regulated after legalization by the federal government. This funding will ensure that Ontario’s municipalities have dedicated resources for cannabis enforcement. Ontario will continue working with law enforcement agencies to protect our communities from illegal cannabis activity, and to keep impaired drivers off the road. "

 — Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services

"As federal cannabis legalization approaches, we want to ensure Ontarians are protected from the dangers of drug-impaired driving and the sale of illegal, unregulated – and potentially unsafe cannabis. That is why it is so important that our municipal and enforcement partners have the tools they need to take down illegal cannabis stores, better detect impaired drivers and prosecute offenders."

 — Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General of Ontario

"We know municipalities will play a key role as the federal government moves forward with the legalization of recreational cannabis. That is why we engaged with municipalities early in this process. The advice received from municipal partners helped inform our decision making. Our government respects the role of municipalities in the legalization of cannabis and we know we can rely on their valuable input as we continue to navigate this process together."

 — Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs

"Cannabis legalization will impact municipal governments across Ontario and AMO is pleased that the province is providing upfront funding to help local governments respond to local needs. Legalization is new for everyone and both the province and AMO recognize the need to monitor and measure the real costs as implementation unfolds."

 — Lynn Dollin, President, Association of Municipalities of Ontario

Media Contacts:

Jessica Martin
Minister’s Office
416-212-5181
jessica.martin@ontario.ca

Scott Blodgett
Ministry of Finance
416-325-0324
scott.blodgett@ontario.ca

Dorijan Najdovski
Minister’s Office
416-326-5095
dorijan.najdovski@ontario.ca

Brent Ross
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
416-314-7024
brent.ross@ontario.ca
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