Cannabis Legalization

The Town of Lincoln continues to address the main two issues related to cannabis/marijuana: 

  • New federal legalization for recreational use 
  • Medical marijuana facilities 

The two issues are regulated differently at a federal, provincial, and municipal level. Below is information on the two issues, commonly requested information, and enforcement information. 


The Cannabis Act creates rules for producing, possessing and selling cannabis across Canada. As part of that legislation, provinces have the authority to regulate the use, distribution, and sale of recreational cannabis. 

In December 2017, Ontario passed legislation to regulate the lawful use, sale, and distribution of recreational cannabis to address the federal legalization of July 2018. Post-provincial election in May, the provincial government introduced new amended legislation (Bill 36) on Sept. 27, 2018, to address the federal legalization on Oct. 17, 2018. 

Legalization on Oct. 17, 2018, included: 

  • personal recreational and medical use in public and private places 
  • personal growing (for recreational use) 
  • legal online sales (for recreational use)

Ontario Rules 

Ontario regulates the use, sale, and distribution of recreational cannabis. In general, anywhere that tobacco use is permitted, so is cannabis use (vape or smoke). Prohibition of recreational or medical cannabis use in public spaces aligns with Smoke Free Ontario Act

Sale (for recreational use only) 

  • The Province has introduced legislation for a tightly regulated private retail model for cannabis that launched April 2019 
    • The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is the provincial regulator authorized to grant store licenses, and to inspect, investigate and enforce rules for registered operators and stores 
      • AGCO retail regulation facts - outlines AGCO role in regulating retail following the proclamation of The Cannabis Retail Act on Nov. 16, 2018 
      • A lottery system was announced on Dec. 13, 2018, indicating only 25 licenses would be given in the first round for April 1, 2019. Communities with a population over 50,000 were eligible for a retail store. 
      • Jan. 13, 2019 the licenses were announced 
    • Niagara Regional Police Service will enforce illegal storefronts 
    • The Ontario Cannabis Store would be the exclusive wholesaler to these stores 
    • Cannabis stores will need to observe a minimum distance from schools (150 metres or 500 feet) in place of local planning controls 
    • Municipalities could opt in or out of allowing retail stores in their municipality. Lincoln opted in on Jan. 21, 2019. 
      • AGCO's FAQs regarding municipalities & retail stores

Local Jurisdiction 

Use of cannabis in public spaces (recreational and medical use): 

  • Regulated by the Smoke Free Ontario Act (SFOA) and any other local by-laws 
  • In Niagara, Regional By-law 112-2013 is in place restricting tobacco use further in outdoor spaces 
  • Niagara Region Public Health enforces the SFOA and Regional By-law 112-2013 
  • Similar to tobacco, an odour will be prevalent from smoking and vaping cannabis. While this may be a nuisance, the SFOA only addresses places where cannabis can be used in terms of second-hand smoke and there are no rules regarding the odour 
    • Concerns or complaints should be directed to their Tobacco Hotline at 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074 ext. 7393 or online.

Growing of cannabis for recreational use:

  • Up to four plants per residence (not person) is permitted 
  • These can be grown indoors or outdoors 
  • Concerns or complaints should be directed to Niagara Regional Police Service - For Grimsby, Lincoln and West Lincoln, call 905-945-2211

Reporting Concerns  

Licensing is overseen by the Government of Canada. Therefore, complaints regarding odours, practices, and licensing should be directed through the following channels: 

  1. Commercial operations: email  or phone 1-866-337-7705 
  2. Medical: online form  
  3. Concerns relating to farm practices under the Farming and Food Protection Act can be directed to the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board at OMAFRA’s Agricultural Information Contact Centre,  by email or call 1-877-424-1300 
  4. Concerns about public safety or illegal behaviour should be directed to Niagara Regional Police Services 
  5. Complaints about property standards should be directed to the Town’s Municipal Law Enforcement