Private Cannabis Retailers Move Into Ontario Despite Uncertainty

Article by Leaf News

Private cannabis retailers move into Ontario despite uncertainty The clock is ticking down to legalization, but the new government of Ontario Premier Doug Ford hasn't released any new details about its plan to privatize cannabis sales. (The Canadian Press/Chris Young) Ontario Premier Doug Ford is applauded by his PC Party members during Question Period at the Ontario Legislature in Toronto on Monday, July 30, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

When we last checked in with Ontario, the province’s new government had leaked details of its game-changing, last-minute plan to do away with the Ontario Cannabis Store in favour of the private-sector.

Some industry insiders expected Premier Doug Ford’s government to release its private retail framework today — but so far, Queen’s Park has been all quiet on the cannabis front. On Monday, Ontario finance minister Vic Fedeli told the Toronto Star that the province will have a retail system ready to go by October 17, but offered few details about what that system will actually look like.

To add to the confusion, a new report from Global News says Ontario is, in fact, continuing to hire retail workers for Ontario Cannabis Store locations in 27 communities across the province. That raises the possibility that Ontario could allow private cannabis sales alongside a government-operated retailer, according to the article by Patrick Cain.

A public-private mix would offer some relief for one unhappy Ontarian: Warren “Smokey” Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, whose members would presumably staff any government-operated cannabis business.

Thomas raged against the dying of the OCS last week, decrying Ford’s reported move to privatize cannabis sales as “a bonanza for organized crime” in a smouldering press release that suggested only publicly-operated cannabis stores will be able to keep the drug out of kids’ curious little hands. Warren even went as far as suggesting Ford’s decision to privatize cannabis sales was made “after consultation with the criminal element.”

Read the full article here.

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