Authorities in Ontario today provided some much anticipated clarification on the province’s rules regarding cannabis retail shops and public cannabis consumption. Officials say Ontario will treat marijuana smoking the same as cigarette smoking, covering both under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. But some restrictions will still apply to cannabis only, and offenses will carry hefty fines.

Ontario Overhauls Major Cannabis Rules

Ontario’s general election in June shifted the balance of power among the competing parties. Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative party emerged with a 76 seat majority in the 124-member parliament. And almost immediately upon taking office, incumbents announced a series of changes to Ontario’s cannabis regulations. Those changes represent a significant departure from the approach the previous Liberal government had established.

Previously, Ontario had planned to operate all cannabis retail stores under the control of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. The rationale from the Liberal government was that the LCBO could better manage and regulate supply. The Liberal government had also planned to prohibit the public consumption of cannabis, raising concerns about where of-age persons could legally smoke cannabis if their apartment or residence banned smoking.

Earlier this summer, Progressive Conservatives announced Ontario would permit privately owned and operated cannabis

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