We field questions all day like "what about the pet store selling CBD products for pets?" or "How come the spa down the street is selling CBD bath bombs?" or "I can buy seeds at this corner store, how come not here?" Even Doug Fords daughter Kyla Ford sold CBD oil on her instagram page. Over half the people who come through our doors every day are looking for products we are not allowed to sell yet.
While we are waiting for our licensing pre-approval, we are not allowed to sell CBD products (including hemp-derived CBD products) or starting materials (like seeds and clones) until licensed. It is always disappointing to turn people away, but even more so when they are finding products in places that are not licensed to sell cannabis (and moreover never intend to get a license).
Does the law apply to the businesses and individuals? Can anyone just sell these products without a license? Short answer, no--of course not, not legally. No one is allowed to sell cannabis products without a license.
We asked for clarification from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario about these stores and enforcement.
Here is the long answer from the AGCO:
There are many stores that are not waiting to become authorized cannabis retailers/do not intend to apply for a license to sell cannabis products and are selling CBD products (pet stores, spas, etc.).
Who will be enforcing the law for these stores who are selling unauthorized CBD products but do not intend to get a cannabis license?
Good morning, Thank you for contacting the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Canada. The Act protects public health through the creation of strict safety and quality regulations. CBD oil is made from the cannabis plant (including the hemp variety) and is captured under the definition of cannabis in the federal Cannabis Act, as well as in Ontario’s Cannabis Control Act, and the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018.
The sale of CBD oil or any other cannabis-based product, such as seeds or edibles, by an unlicensed cannabis retailer is illegal. The Ontario Cannabis Store is currently the only authorized retailer of legal recreational cannabis in Ontario.
The AGCO is the regulator for licensing private retail cannabis stores in Ontario. Only AGCO licensed cannabis retailers may sell recreational cannabis and they must purchase this product through the Ontario Cannabis Store. Consumers may only legally buy cannabis products for medical use through a Health Canada licensed seller. Retailers that are not licensed via the above mentioned would become a police matter.
For more information on private retail cannabis stores in Ontario, please visit our website at www.agco.ca. For general inquires and complaints, please contact the AGCO online via the iAGCO online portal, at www.agco.ca/iAGCO or contact Customer Service at 416-326-8700 or toll free in Ontario at 1-800-522-2876.
AGCO Customer Service
Tl;dr: To be clear, store owners and individuals who sell unauthorized cannabis products (including seeds and clones) and products containing CBD (which even includes hemp-derived CBD) are breaking the law. It doesn’t matter if the product has an NPN number or not. If they are not an authorized seller, they cannot sell it. They could be charged with hefty fines or even face jail time. It is all a matter of enforcement, but as we know, police choose when and what to enforce. For us, it's just not worth the risk.