Cannabis Information for Residents




Cannabis for recreational use is now legal in Canada. This webpage has been developed to provide information on the issue and what the legalization of cannabis means to Whitby.

Residents interested in learning more about the legalization of cannabis are encouraged to review additional resources from the Region, Province and Federal governments.

Laws Regarding Cannabis Use

In April 2017, the federal government introduced Bill C-45 (the Cannabis Act) to legalize recreational cannabis. In September 2018, the provincial government introduced Bill 36 (the Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act) which included several changes to the use and sale of cannabis in Ontario.

Recreational Cannabis Use

Cannabis for non-medical use is now legal in Canada. Under the new laws in Ontario, adults 19 years of age or older can now:

  • smoke/consume cannabis in any form – smoking, vaping or edibles – on private residential property, subject to the provisions of any lease agreements or condominium by-laws
  • purchase cannabis online through the Ontario Cannabis Store
  • possess up to 30 grams of dried legal cannabis in public
  • share cannabis with people 19 years of age or older
  • grow up to four plants per residence (not per person) without a licence
  • under Bill 36, the smoking of cannabis is prohibited everywhere the smoking of tobacco is prohibited.

In Whitby, the smoking of cannabis is further prohibited by the Town's Cannabis By-law in the following locations:

  • in municipal buildings and on the property where a municipal building is located
  • in parks and park buildings and on the property where a park building is located
  • in libraries and on the property where a library is located
  • in public and private parking lots
  • in schools, daycare facilities, and other child care facilities
  • in retail, commercial, and business establishments


Various legislation – including the Cannabis Act (federal), Cannabis Control Act (provincial) and the Town's Cannabis By-law (municipal) – will govern the use of cannabis in Whitby.

The Town will continue to work with the Durham Regional Police Service and the Regional Municipality of Durham to enforce current regulations related to the use of cannabis within the community.

Retail Stores

No government-operated retail stores will be set up in Ontario. Instead, the provincial government has announced its’ intention to allow private retailers to sell cannabis as of April 1, 2019. The Province has given municipalities the option to opt-out of permitting physical cannabis retail stores within their boundaries by January 22, 2019.

On December 11, 2018 Town staff delivered a report to Council with information on privately-run cannabis retail stores and cannabis related impacts and considerations. View the report by clicking the link below.

Report LS 26-18: Privately-Run Cannabis Retail Stores and the Ontario Cannabis Licence Act, 2018

Stay Informed

To receive updates about the Town's decision to opt-in or opt-out of permitting private cannabis retail stores in Whitby, please add your name to the interested parties list through the link below.

Interested Parties List - Cannabis 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I legally purchase cannabis?
Currently in Ontario, the only way to legally purchase recreational cannabis is online through the Ontario Cannabis Store. Beginning in April 2019, the provincial government will allow cannabis to be sold through private retail stores. 
How will private cannabis retail stores be licensed and regulated?
Under the new Cannabis Licence Act (2018) the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will licence and regulate private retail stores in Ontario.
Can the Town opt-out of having private cannabis retail stores within its municipal boundaries?

The province has given municipalities a one-time option to opt-out of having private cannabis retail stores within their municipal boundaries by Tuesday, January 22, 2019.

A decision will be made by Council at a future public meeting to be held in January. 

Can the decision to opt-out be reversed?
 Yes. A decision to opt-in, however, cannot be reversed. 
Do municipalities have the authority to regulate the location of private cannabis retail stores?

No. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has indicated that it will post notice of each application to license a private cannabis retail store on its website in a searchable database. Municipalities and the public will then have a 15-day period to submit comments to the AGCO. 

Will retail stores be located near schools?
Provincial regulations have set a minimum distance of 150 metres (approximately 500 feet) between cannabis retail stores and schools, including private schools. These regulations do not apply to other potentially sensitive locations (ex. daycares) and post-secondary institutions. 
Is there a cap on the number of private recreational cannabis retail stores to be permitted in a municipality?

No. The AGCO has no cap on the number of storefronts that would be licensed in any municipality.

Would a decision to opt-out have an impact on any cannabis-related funding the Town may be eligible to receive from the province?

Regardless of the decision, the Town will receive approximately $57,000 in provincial funding.  However, at this time, additional provincial funding for municipalities that choose to opt-out will be capped at $5,000.

When will the first private cannabis retail stores open?
Beginning in April 2019, the provincial government will allow cannabis to be sold through private retail stores.

Still have questions?

If you have any questions regarding the private retail sale of recreational cannabis in the Town of Whitby, please contact the Legal Services Division at

If you have any questions regarding the Town’s By-laws, please contact the By-law Services Division at 905.430.4345 or

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