TORONTO — Canada’s most populous province said Monday it will allow the online sale of pot this fall and the sale of cannabis in private retail stores next April.
Marijuana will be legal across Canada on Oct. 17. In the meantime, its provinces are working out issues concerning regulations.
Ontario’s new conservative government announced it is scrapping the previous administration’s plan to allow pot sales only in government-run stores — a model of public ownership that is unusual in the U.S. No U.S. state owns marijuana retail outlets.
Ontario will allow cannabis to be purchased online through a government run website when legalization takes effect in three months. Pot won’t be in stores until April 1.
Private store models are also being implemented in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
“The government of Ontario will not be in the business of running physical cannabis stores,” Finance Minister Vic Fedeli said. “Instead, we will work with private sector businesses to build a safe, reliable retail system that will divert sales away from the illegal market.”
Fedeli said municipalities will be able to opt out of hosting any cannabis shops initially.