Government right to change course on cannabis

Mike Schreiner issued the following statement in response to the PC government’s announcement on private cannabis sales:

“Greens have opposed the previous Liberal government’s cannabis monopoly since they introduced it in September 2017. We were the first party to say forty government run stores would not end the unsafe, underground market for cannabis.

Minister Fedeli and Minister Mulroney are right to change course.

Licensing and regulating local dispensaries to sell cannabis is the practical way forward. I am pleased that Premier Ford has listened to the wisdom of experts on this issue. I wish he would do the same on sexual health, climate change and social assistance reform, but until now political motivations – not facts – have driven government decisions.

It’s important that this change create a new space for commercial activity for small businesses, farmers and Indigenous organizations to replace organized crime and underground markets.

The government’s plan should prioritize safety, especially for our children. Proceeds from cannabis sales should fund programs to support mental health and addictions services and assist municipalities.

I look forward to seeing how a new wave of local entrepreneurs, small businesses and indigenous groups can benefit from regulated, safe and controlled cannabis sales. Privatization should not be a way for Premier Ford to enrich his friends or big businesses. Greens will oppose any rules that give priority to big corporate companies at the expense of local businesses.

I am eager to learn more details about the government’s plan, including the steps that will be taken to ensure community safety as cannabis legalization becomes a reality.”