March 28, 2018 4:38 pm
Updated: March 28, 2018 5:39 pm

Ontario budget 2018: 5 things to know about cannabis legalization

Growing flowers of cannabis intended for the medical marijuana market are shown at OrganiGram in Moncton, N.B., on April 14, 2016.

CANADIAN PRESS / Ron Ward
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TORONTO – As the federal government moves to legalize marijuana for recreational users later this year, Ontario’s latest budget sheds light on the province’s approach to sales, distribution, enforcement and revenue expectations.

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– The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation, an LCBO subsidiary created to manage sales and distribution of recreational pot in the province, is not expecting to generate profits immediately after legalization. It is expecting an $8-million loss in 2017-2018, followed by a $40-million loss in 2018-19, largely due to initial startup costs to establish the retail network. By 2019-20, the province is forecasting OCRC net income of $35 million, followed by $100 million in net income by 2020-21.

READ MORE: Ontario debt projected to rise to $325B, Wynne Liberals to run deficits until 2024

– In a bid to crack down on the black market for marijuana in Ontario, the provincial government is creating a Cannabis Intelligence Co-ordination Centre to shut down illegal storefronts.

READ MORE: Ontario budget 2018: 5 things to know

– The province will create a specialized legal team to support drug-impaired driving prosecutions. As well, it plans to fund sobriety field test training for police officers to help detect impaired drivers.

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– Ontario will be providing municipalities with $40 million over the first two years of legalization to help with the costs of dealing with recreational pot. The Ontario Cannabis Legalization Implementation Fund will be funded by Ontario’s portion of the federal excise duty on recreational cannabis, at 75 per cent.

READ MORE: Ontario budget 2018: Here’s a quick look at the highlights

– Ontario plans to apply the full Harmonized Sales Tax, at 13 per cent, to off-reserve purchases of recreational cannabis by a Status Indian, band or band council, similar to tobacco and alcoholic beverages. However, off-reserve purchases of medical cannabis from a licensed producer will continue to be eligible for a rebate of the eight per cent provincial portion of the HST.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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