The move marks a seismic change in how Ontarians will shop for recreational cannabis
The Ontario government is turning to private retailers to sell marijuana in stores come October, shifting policy dramatically less than three months before Canada legalizes recreational use.
Provincial Finance Minister Vic Fedeli and Attorney-General Caroline Mulroney are expected to make an announcement as early as next week outlining in broad strokes the province’s plan to scrap the existing public retail model and allow the private sector to own and operate bricks-and-mortar cannabis shops, according to a senior source in the Ontario government who would only speak on condition of not being named. The person added that the government will still control the wholesale and distribution of the product to the stores and manage online sales.
The move marks a seismic change in how Ontarians will shop for legal recreational cannabis come Oct. 17. It also opens the door for the companies and entrepreneurs that end up being awarded retail licences to profit from the green rush that has already been so lucrative for many investors and licensed producers.
The province’s previous Liberal government had planned to give the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) a monopoly on the sale of recreational cannabis, with 40 physical stores set to open this year under a subsidiary of the LCBO called the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS). Now, the Ontario system is expected to mirror the Alberta model, which will allow for privately run cannabis stores to sell marijuana with licences granted by the liquor commission.
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