Ford should reverse plan for government monopoly on cannabis

QUEEN’S PARK — The extension of cannabis legalization gives Ontario time to fix its flawed plan for a government monopoly. The Green Party is calling on Premier-designate Doug Ford to implement a cannabis retail plan that will put an end to the unsafe underground market.

“The former government’s cannabis monopoly with 40 government run retail stores will do nothing to end the unsafe underground cannabis market,” said Green Party leader Mike Schreiner. “The new premier now has time to fix this by licensing and strictly regulating local dispensaries to also sell cannabis.”

The Prime Minister has granted provinces more time to get their house in order for the landmark shift to legal cannabis. The Green Party has long advocated for a model similar to the craft brewery industry, in which small businesses and dispensaries would be regulated to sell cannabis in a safe and controlled way. Doug Ford previously hinted that he would be open to allowing private sector sales, but has remained silent on the issue ever since.

The GPO supports sharing cannabis revenue with municipalities and dedicating all provincial revenue to supporting addiction programs.

“A few government run stores will not only lose money, it will continue to drive people to the unsafe underground market, hurting our economy and shutting out local businesses who want to operate safely and honestly,” said Schreiner. “A thriving underground market will also continue to make cannabis readily available to minors.”

“This is a chance for Doug Ford to change course. If he truly wants to create jobs for the people of Ontario, then he could take some time away from waging war on the cleantech sector and look at involving independent businesses in retail cannabis sales,” added Schreiner.