Whether you’re a Doug Ford fan or not, if you’re a cannabis fan of any degree, this is a huge win for the people of Ontario. While we don’t know many of the details yet, the trickle of statements from Ford’s government indicate a reversal of the policy set in place by the previous administration which would have seen an LCBO-style government monopoly on legal cannabis sales.
By any measure, the original plan from the Liberal government was already set to fail right from the start. Only four government-run stores would have been open by the end of 2018, and only one of those stores was going to be in Toronto. ONE. Toronto would have had ONE cannabis store. Maybe the previous liberal government underestimated the degree to which Torontonians like their weed. If they were hoping to steer people away from the black market, their plan certainly wouldn’t have had any impact at all. Even projecting out to the end of 2020 they were only establishing 150 stores province-wide, a good demonstration of their disconnect with the needs of their constituents. To put that in perspective, Alberta expects to have 250 private retail cannabis stores licensed and open by the end of the first year of legalization, even though they have only 25% of the population of Ontario.
The exact details of Ford’s new plan are yet to be revealed, although an announcement was expected last week. Some believe this delay is an indication that rather than going fully privatized, like Alberta, they are opting for a hybrid system, where private and public stores are both permitted to operate. While most cannabis consumers in Ontario would prefer a fully privatized industry, there’s almost universal agreement that anything is better than the previous framework. We’re wondering if taxpayers get their $650,000 back for that horrific Ontario Cannabis Store logo? Perhaps we can just forward the bill to Kathleen Wynne.
What does this mean for cannabis fans?
Regardless of the level of privatized involvement, it will still mean you’ll have very limited choices for fully-licensed retailers at the October 17 date. With a change this late in the game, it’s going to take some time for businesses to come online. So whatever you’re doing right now to get your weed, you’ll probably need to just keep on doing it. We always suggest online cannabis dispensaries, and there are plenty of excellent choices reviewed right here on DispensaryGTA.com.
We’ll be expecting more details from the Ford government very, very soon. When we know more, you will too!