Shopping For Legal Cannabis

Legal Cannabis in Ontario: Who Does What?

Four government bodies make up the legal cannabis framework, collaborating to fulfill consumer needs in a safe and socially responsible manner. Understandably, the average consumer might have questions about the process behind producing, procuring and selling this once-prohibited product. We explain who does what below.  

Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) 

While the federal government is responsible for regulating the cannabis industry as a whole — including the production of cannabis — provinces and territories are responsible for determining retail and distribution approaches.   

That’s where the OCS comes in.  

The OCS is a Crown agency solely owned by the Province of Ontario, which reports to the Ministry of Finance. We provide access to tested, traceable and legal recreational cannabis for adults 19 and older in Ontario. As the largest centralized wholesale cannabis organization in the world, the OCS is the sole wholesaler to more than 1,600 privately owned retail cannabis stores authorized and regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). The OCS sources cannabis from a diverse group of federally Licensed Producers regulated by Health Canada, which ensures customers receive only legal products that adhere to strict guidelines set out by the Cannabis Act. We also operate, the Province’s online cannabis retail store, which delivers legal cannabis products to consumers in every corner of Ontario. 

The OCS remains committed to championing a socially responsible industry and advancing cannabis knowledge across the province. The Cannabis Made Clear education hub provides trustworthy, unbiased information for anyone interested in learning more about consumption methods, health effects, responsible use and more. 

Health Canada 

Health Canada

Recreational cannabis was legalized in 2018 under the federal Cannabis Act. Health Canada is responsible for regulating the production and promotion of legal cannabis across the country. It protects public health through strict safety and quality regulations.  

Health Canada oversees licensing and regulation of all cannabis producers authorized to sell to provincial wholesalers or distributors and Authorized Retailers.   

For more information about Health Canada’s role, visit the Government of Canada’s website at 

Ontario Government 

Ontario Government

The Government of Ontario established and is responsible for overseeing the provincial framework for recreational cannabis, including rules for possession, consumption and the sale of cannabis in Ontario. Their main objectives include protecting public health and safety and protecting youth, as well as combatting the illegal cannabis market. 

The Ontario government established the OCS as the exclusive wholesaler of recreational cannabis in the province (under the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act, 2017) and the AGCO as the regulatory body for Authorized Cannabis Stores (under the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018).  

Each province and territory is responsible for setting its own rules for how cannabis can be sold, where stores can be located and how many stores can operate. 

For more information about the province’s role, visit the Government of Ontario’s website at    

Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) 


The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) licenses eligible retail store operators and Authorized Cannabis Stores and regulates the sale of cannabis through Authorized Retailers in Ontario. It sets operational standards for Authorized Retailers to adhere to regulations in the Cannabis Retail Regulation Guide. 

For more information about the AGCO’s role, visit
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