Ontario Cannabis Regime in Political Crosshairs

Article by Geoff Zochodne, Financial Post

Ontario cannabis regime in political crosshairs The province's Liberal government is preparing to keep pot sales on a relatively tight leash, while Progressive Conservatives favour more of a privatized approach. Meanwhile, a provincial election is scheduled to be held on or before June 7. Doug Ford, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of OntarioGalit Rodan/Bloomberg

Ontario’s newly branded cannabis retail stores haven’t started to sell marijuana yet, but they are already in the political crosshairs, and the burgeoning cannabis industry may be just fine with that.

Doug Ford, the leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives, made comments Tuesday suggesting he favours a more privatized approach to the distribution of alcohol and legalized pot.

“I don’t like monopolies,” Ford told Ottawa’s CFRA radio station. “I don’t like government being involved in something that the private sector can handle.”

Ford’s comments did not seem to ruffle the cannabis industry, which is readying for Canada’s expected legalization of recreational marijuana later this year.

“Cannabis Canada generally supports private, yet responsibly regulated cannabis sales,” Allan Rewak, acting executive director of the Cannabis Canada Association, said in an email.

“That being said, the crown model currently being rolled out is proceeding well and our members stand ready to work with whomever forms the next provincial government to design a system that keeps profits out of the hands of organized crime and cannabis away from kids,” said Rewak, whose group represents licensed medical marijuana producers.

Ontario is Canada’s most populous province, and it is poised to be its biggest market for legalized cannabis. The province’s Liberal government, though, is preparing to keep pot sales on a relatively tight leash.

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