Article by , CBC News
Ontario needs to drastically change its retail cannabis strategy or risk not only losing its competitive advantage, but also failing to lure consumers away from the black market, says the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
On this first 4/20 since Canada became the first G7 country to legalize recreational cannabis, Toronto has just three physical locations to purchase pot legally, but dozens of illegal dispensaries are still doing brisk business.
“If there’s not a competitive legal market in Ontario, people are going to turn to the black market, and that’s lost revenue, lost jobs, lost opportunity for business,” said Michelle Eaton, vice president of communications and government relations for the OCC.
Eaton said that since this is the first time cannabis has been legal in close to a century, it’s understandable that there are some kinks to work out.
“It’s not going to be perfect at first — there are going to be bumps in the road,” she said. “But the more avenues that we’re giving consumers to buy recreational cannabis, the more opportunity we have to move them away from the illegal market.”
Eaton urges the province to choose the next batch of licences retailers by merit, rather than the lottery system used to decide who could apply for Ontario’s first 25 store licences.