Ontario government outlines first 14 cities to host cannabis shops

The Ontario government has released a first batch of 14 municipalities that will have government-run marijuana stores. David McNew/Getty Images

The Ontario government has named the first 14 cities that will receive standalone cannabis stores by July 2018.

The Ministry of Finance and Liquor Control Board of Ontario outlined their plan on Friday, with four stores in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. They include the Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and Hamilton regions.

Also included on the list includes Barrie, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Vaughan and Windsor.

The LCBO will run the shops through a subsidiary with the stores to be open in July 2018, falling in line with the date for recreational marijuana to be legalized.

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The ministry and LCBO said it will meet with municipal staff within the coming weeks to discuss guidelines, where the stores should be located and local interests for the regions.

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Guidelines will be set to achieve “objectives of protecting youth by ensuring stores are not in close proximity to schools, while providing access within communities and addressing the illegal market,” stated the release.

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The Ontario government is to identify more locations for its first batch of stores, but notes that all consumers will be able to access cannabis through an online retail website.

Approximately 150 standalone cannabis stores are expected to be set up by the province by 2020. The first batch of 40 stores will open in 2018 with that number rising to 80 stores by July 2019.

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With files from The Canadian Press.

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