Reports of marijuana privatization on Thursday evening in Ontario has made some people in the province and especially those in the cannabis industry happy.
Ontarians on social media reacted to the announcement – still not official – over the reversal of the government-run monopoly by allowing an open door for marijuana privatization. A source told the Globe and Mail that Finance Minister Vic Fedeli and Attorney General Caroline Mulroney are expected to make an official statement as early as next week to outline a plan to let the private sector own and operate cannabis shops.
— Jodie Emery (@JodieEmery) July 27, 2018
“Ontario going to Private Retail Cannabis means pot stores won’t be going on strike before a long weekend, or ever,” Chris Goodwin wrote Friday on Twitter, using the hashtag #privatesectorrules.
While Melissa Lantsman wrote: “This is win for Ontario.”
— Melissa Lantsman (@MelissaLantsman) July 27, 2018
However, others like Wayne Samuels is reacting to the big news with a pinch of sale.
“Very interested to see the regulatory and enforcement plan, and what it means for the LCBO/Beer Store,” he wrote, reflecting Ontarians’ curiosity over the fate of the government-run Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS).
Big news from our new PC government – will turn to private retailers to sell marijuana. Very interested to see the regulatory and enforcement plan, and what it means for the LCBO/Beer Store #onpoli https://t.co/iwitemPlVz
— Wayne Samuels (@waynemsamuels) July 27, 2018
OCS is the moniker chosen for the dispensaries that will be operated by a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). LCBO is a Crown corporation that retails and distributes alcoholic beverages throughout the province of Ontario.
Before the Progressive Conservative Doug Ford’s inauguration as the Ontario’s premier, many pro-marijuana advocates including activists have lashed out at the Liberal-led government’s approach on cannabis in the province.
While the outgoing Liberals had planned to roll out 150 standalone government-run pot stores by the end of 2020, only a few were confirmed.
Not only that, but the OCS was not ready in Ontario itself. In June, the Puff Puff Post reported about how Toronto’s which had Ontario’s only OCS in Scarborough still at the time had the sign “FOR LEASE.”
Promise made. Promise kept.
As promised, Ontario’s PC government has reviewed the previous government’s failed Soviet-style socialist plan for marijuana sale.
Strictly regulated private businesses will be allowed to sell marijuana once it’s legal, eliminating the black market. https://t.co/i0ETD0Lhpj
— Ontarians for Doug Ford (@Ontarians4Doug) July 27, 2018
The announcement comes as Canada is readying to the nationwide legalization of marijuana on Oct. 17.
Ontario is three months away for legalization and the PC’s are about to scrap the public model https://t.co/djuZneUzCb
— Adam Haga (@AdamHaga) July 27, 2018
Meanwhile, the source, who spoke on condition of not being identified to the Globe and Mail, said the government would still control the distribution of the product to the stores and manage online sales.
This means that the new regime will mimic that of the province of Alberta, which has a mix of both free competitions via privatization and some regulatory framework through the government.
In Alberta, businesses are allowed to privately operated their marijuana shops with licenses granted by the liquor commission.
“Actually, it looks like Doug Ford is copying the Alberta NDP model on pot sales,” Gen Gerson said.
The news comes after Ford’s almost retracted on privatizing the cannabis sector in Ontario in late June.
Before becoming Ontario’s incoming premier, Ford made a startling statement in March, when he said he backed a full-fledged “open market” to cannabis.
I’m of two minds on this:
1. The Liberal’s OCS model was never going to work properly. Too few locations, too expensive, and far too restrictive an approach. Private cannabis stores will be good for Ontario.
2. As someone in the midst of the OCS recruitment process, I recognize https://t.co/qjJDdP8CCk
— Peter Thurley (@pfthurley) July 26, 2018
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.