LCBO To Operate Pot Shops

Aphria is a medical canibas producer in Leamington Ont

Sources close to the Ontario government and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne say that she is expected to announce on Friday that the province will be opening 60 storefronts selling recreational marijuana.

At a joint news conference with Ontario's attorney general, and ministers of finance and health, the provincial government unveiled details of its "safe and sensible framework" regulating the sale of marijuana.

Morgan said the government is looking for insight on several aspects of recreational marijuana, including age restrictions, retail models, taxation and modified impaired driving laws. "At the same time, I think it's up to the government to provide a source for all British Columbians who would rather purchase their cannabis from a public, legally regulated system and not support organized crime".

Morgan noted the federal timeline of legalizing marijuana by July 2018 doesn't leave them a lot of time, and there's little hope their request for a year-long delay will be granted.

The province wants "as much consistency across the country" as possible, and ministry officials are working with other jurisdictions examining similar legislation, he said. Sousa said the government could look at that possibility down the road.

- Northwest Territories is in the middle of discussions with residents that includes hosting community meetings and an online survey that has garnered a record response for a government online consultation tool.

"Today's announcement is what we have been calling for since the legalization debate began", said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE).

Vic Neufeld
CEO of Aphria Vic Neufeld said that their production facility in Leamington will grow following Ontario's announced plans for pot sales

The plan calls for the LCBO also to head up online distribution, with identification checks and signatures required on delivery. "How are you allowing private sellers to sell booze but not cannabis?"

In Southwestern Ontario, where police in some cities including London have played a game of whack-a-mole with illegal pot shops, raiding and shutting them down only to see them pop up again, the quick take-away reaction to Ontario's plan to deal with legalized pot for personal use was generally favourable. It will sell marijuana in as many as 150 dedicated stores by 2020, but will start with 40 in July of next year.

Ontario plans to convene an enforcement summit with policing partners, public health experts and other stakeholders.

Meanwhile, using marijuana recreationally won't be permitted publicly - just in private dwellings.

The locations of the stores would be determined after municipalities are consulted.

"I've been anxious from the beginning that the so-called legalization is nothing more that Prohibition 2.0 with cops and politicians looking to make money themselves", Emery said.



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