Article by Geoff Zochodne, Financial Post
Ontario announced Monday that it is abandoning the previous Liberal plan for a government-owned monopoly on legalized marijuana sales, earning praise from pot producers that could gain a new route to cannabis consumers in Canada’s largest province.
The newly elected Conservative government’s proposal for recreational cannabis — with some critical details still to come, and just weeks away from federal legalization — aims for online sales by the province at first, but eventually to allow for the private sector to open bricks-and-mortar pot shops.
“The Government of Ontario will not be in the business of running physical cannabis stores,” Finance Minister Vic Fedeli said. “Instead, we will work with private-sector businesses to build a safe, reliable retail system that will divert sales away from the illegal market.”
Monday’s announcement follows the election of Premier Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives and reverses the plan of the previous Liberal government, which wanted to give the Liquor Control Board of Ontario a monopoly on the sale of recreational cannabis.
Under the new approach, Canada’s most populous province will still start selling cannabis online on the legalization date of Oct. 17, using a website run by the provincially owned Ontario Cannabis Store.