Doug Ford’s almost retracted statement on privatizing the cannabis sector in Ontario has “disappointed” some voters.
Before becoming Ontario’s incoming premier, Doug Ford made a startling statement in March, when he said he backed a full-fledged “open market” to cannabis.
Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s premiere at the time dubbed Ford‘s statement as “reckless.” Debates during the Ontario provincial election also didn’t witness any bold statements from any party leader on cannabis, revealing fear over the topic.
But on Thursday, Ford’s voters felt “disappointed” when he made a much-diluted statement, showing much less enthusiasm on getting rid of government’s monopoly on cannabis in Ontario.
“I don’t believe that the government should stick its nose in everything,” he told reporters, “but again that is a path that we never went down, and we are gonna tread carefully on this. We are going to consult with local municipalities.”
The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), the designated place where people in the province will their legal marijuana, will be run by the government-controlled Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
Doug Ford to keep LCBO structure
But in a show of a retracted statement, Ford said: “We are going to make a decision after we talk to caucus,” adding “I also said we keep it in LCBOs because they have the structure we put together — again, we are gonna tread carefully.”
In March, the Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Ford gave a much bolder statement when he said he wasn’t a fan of monopolies and was considering getting the government out of the business of selling alcohol, and cannabis when it’s legalized later this year.
A Twitter user, addressing Ford by his handle name on the social media website, said: @fordnation to say I am disappointed is an understatement! I heard you loud and clear on the campaign trail when you said that government should not have their hands in this. Not a good way to start off Doug…”
Others attributed his daring statement before elected as premier on June 7 as nothing but a mere tactic to get his hands on the premiership.
“He said stuff to get elected. Are you surprised? He’ll probably keep saying contradictory stuff through the next 4 years,” one Twitter user said, while another, highlighted his family’s involvement in selling drugs.
“He was a drug dealer in his youth, wasn’t he? Maybe he wants to get back in the game.”
In 2013, the Globe and Mail published a story saying that Ford sold hashish for several years in the 1980s. The newspaper’s investigation also found out that another brother, Randy, was involved in the drug trade and was once charged in relation to a drug-related kidnapping. Their sister, Kathy, had been the victim of drug-related gun violence, the newspaper said.
Another user called on Ford for his “broken promise.”
“We’ve just been through 15yrs of liberal lies. You said during election that you wanted it in private sector hands. We don’t need more public sector workers plain and simple. Keep your promise.”
Since the election of Justin Trudeau in 2015, the Liberal-led government was the one who advanced the Cannabis Act bill to legalize marijuana on a federal level.
However, Wynne’s Liberal party has been heavily criticized in Ontario for crushing entrepreneurship in the cannabis industry by keeping it in the hands of the government.
Also, most notably Ford’s party is hostile toward the legalization movement and have worked to hamper the path to end prohibition, making it difficult for the premier to fight against the strong conservative current.