Marijuana Should Be Available At Private Retailers, Two-Thirds Of Canadians Say

Article by Daniel Tencer, Hiffington Post

Marijuana Should Be Available At Private Retailers, Two-Thirds Of Canadians Say Plans for provincially-run retail networks are running headlong into public opinion.

Two-thirds of Canadians would allow licensed marijuana growers to open their own retail outlets to sell the product, according to a new poll.

The survey of 5,000 Canadians from Oracle Poll found 65 per cent of respondents would support retail marijuana outlets owned by licensed growers.

It comes amid plans by the governments of Ontario and New Brunswick to go in a different direction and create provincially-run outlets that would sell the product once it’s legal for recreational purposes on July 1, 2018.

Ontario announced earlier this month it plans to open up to 150 marijuana retail outlets, operated by the provincial liquor distributor, the LCBO. The province aims to have 40 stores open at legalization time next summer.

New Brunswick is also moving towards a provincially-run retail model. The province has set up a Crown corporation that has already put in orders for marijuana with local producers. Other provinces have not yet declared their intentions.

The federal Liberal government introduced legislation to legalize marijuana by July of next year, but left issues of regulation and distribution to the provinces.

Majority backs legalization

The Oracle survey found that, overall, 57 per cent of respondents agreed with the federal government’s decision to legalize cannabis.

The survey also found that 26 per cent of respondents are currently consumers of cannabis, but 39 per cent intend to try marijuana when it’s legal. That’s a potential cannabis market of more than 11.4 million Canadians.

Another survey, released by Dalhousie University in Halifax, found a higher level of overall support for legalization: 68 per cent.

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