Ontario Premier Doug Ford to Privatize Legal Cannabis Sales

Published: July 30, 2018

Ontario Premier Doug Ford to Privatize Legal Cannabis Sales

In the wake of the recent election of the Conservative-government of Ontario, Doug Ford, the incumbent premier, has opted to adopt a privatized model of recreational cannabis once it becomes legal October 17th. This comes amidst speculation from a Globe & Mail report released last Friday. Initially the Ontario government was to open 40 cannabis stores under the auspices of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) with plans to roll out 80 stores in 2019 and 120 stores the following year.

Cannabis advocates are praising the move in favour of increased competition, free enterprise and increased revenues for small business. Many also hope that privatization will lead to a curtailing of black-market cannabis in the months to come. Others however opposed the decision.

“What on earth are they smoking at Queen’s Park? This would be a bonanza for organized crime. They could legitimately get licences to distribute cannabis – and get very wealthy doing it. Does the Premier’s definition of ‘little guy’ include mobsters and other criminals?” said OPSEU President Warren Thomas.

While it is unclear at this time how many retail licenses will be offered or whether Ontario will adopt a public/private model similar to BC, supply and distribution efforts will be overseen by the provincial government.