Article by Dale Carruthers, London Free Press
One of Ontario’s largest public-sector unions is making a last-ditch effort to get back into the cannabis-selling business, a move it says will keep the drug away from minors.
But critics say the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) campaign is more concerned about creating jobs than its touted mission of public safety, with one leading cannabis lawyer calling it “incredibly irresponsible”
OPSEU is encouraging citizens to lobby municipal politicians to opt out of having licensed marijuana dispensaries in their communities before the Jan. 22 deadline. The union wants those municipalities to push the province to open publicly run pot shops, like those planned by the previous Liberal government.
“The Liberals came up with a plan that respected societal issues, health-care issues and took a big step toward retail availability,” OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas said.
After sweeping into power, Ontario Premier Doug Ford nixed the Liberal plan to sell recreational pot through LCBO-run outlets, opening up an unlimited number of retail licences to private-sector partners, while keeping the government-run online service, the Ontario Cannabis Store, as the exclusive wholesaler. Bricks-and-mortar retailers won’t open until April.