BREAKING: Ontario Announces Private Retail Plan For Cannabis Sales

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The new provincial government is rolling out its plan for a private system to handle recreational cannabis sales in Ontario.

Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, says the new PC government will allow recreational cannabis sales through an online-only retail chain known as the Ontario Cannabis Store when its legalized this fall.

Meantime, Fedeli says the government will move to a "tightly regulated" private retail model for the sale of recreational marijuana by April 1, 2019.

He noted the approached is a departure from the previous government's plan to sell cannabis through government-run stores in the same way alcohol is sold in Ontario.

The legal age to buy recreational cannabis will stay the same at 19 years old.

Fedeli says private retailers will have to follow a number of rules to obtain a licence. He stresses if marijuana is sold to anyone under the legal age, that retailer would lose its licence.

"The government of Ontario will not be in the business of running physical cannabis stores," says Fedeli. "Instead, we will work with private sector businesses to build a safe, reliable retail system that will divert sales away from the illegal market."

The federal government has set October 17 as the day recreational marijuana will become legal across Canada.

— with files from the Canadian Press