BLACKBURN NEWS: Possible Pot Privatization Interests Windsor Business Owner

Blackburn News – Mark Brown – July 30, 2018

A Windsor businessman thinks the potential private sale of recreational cannabis is a bold step for the province.

A report published Friday by The Globe and Mail and VICE News indicated that the Ford majority government in Ontario would allow for sales of recreational marijuana by private businesses. An official announcement by Premier Doug Ford, however, has not been made but could happen as soon as this week.

Jon Liedtke, co-owner of Higher Limits, a cannabis lounge in downtown Windsor, tells that it’s a surprising development, but he’s watchful.

“It’s surprising on the broader scale,” says Liedtke. “It’s a big shift for the province of Ontario. We just have to watch to see what this private model means.”

If the proposal goes through, it would be a reversal of what the Liberals under Kathleen Wynne had announced. Once recreational marijuana becomes legal nationwide in October, pot sales in Ontario would only be allowed at some stand-alone stores and handled exclusively by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). The reports state, however, that if there is privatization, the LCBO would still oversee the wholesale distribution of marijuana as well as online sales.

It was not clear if any potential privatization plan would allow businesses to sell cannabis for users to take home with them, or if it would be relegated through pharmacy chains such as Rexall or Shoppers Drug Mart.

Liedtke says he would love the opportunity to apply for a licence to sell legal cannabis at his business, and this potential move by the majority Conservatives means a better form of cooperation. At the same time, the provincial mandate of social responsibility can still be achieved.

“The more players that you have in the marketplace, the better,” says Liedtke.

The target date for the legalization of recreational marijuana is October 17.


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