Article by Patrick Cain, Global News
This week, Canadians finally got a date when marijuana will be legal: Oct. 17.
The announcement puts the ball firmly in the provinces’ court; legal cannabis stores must be open, and online sales systems ready to go, in 117 days. It may seem like a lot of time, but there’s a lot to do.
Caught between an unforgiving timeline toward legalization on the one hand, and the many unknowns of an incoming government on the other, officials who are organizing legal marijuana retail in Canada’s highest-population province are saying almost nothing about their plans.
Outgoing Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne announced back in the fall of 2017 that pot would be sold through a government monopoly, like the province’s Liquor Control Board of Ontario stores. The Liberals set up the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation, a subsidiary of the LCBO, to sell marijuana when it’s legal. And cannabis store workers, like their LCBO colleagues, will be members of Ontario’s public-sector employees’ union.
Whether this is the kind of system that incoming PC premier Doug Ford would have set up, had he been in power at the time, is an open question. But asked about his cannabis roll-out plans Thursday, Ford seemed to rule out a last-minute switch to a private-sector system.
“I’m private sector. I don’t believe government should stick their nose into everything,” he told reporters.
“This is a path we have never went down, and we’re going to tread carefully on this and we’re going to consult with the local municipalities and we’re going to make a decision after we talk to caucus. But I also said we’d keep it in the LCBOs because they have the structure already put together.”