Did the Ford government get it right on cannabis sales

Mr. Ford seems to be proposing a responsible and intelligent framework for the retailing of cannabis in Ontario. According to leaked plans, the province will license private businesses to sell cannabis in bricks-and-mortar shops. That’s a departure from the previous Liberal government’s plan to sell the drug only at government-run Ontario Cannabis Store outlets similar to the LCBO.

Some experts proposed that the LCBO being a government-owned enterprise, would be subject to far less scrutiny. Going forward, provincial and municipal overseers will face a greater burden overseeing issues such as location, zoning, age restrictions and responsible advertising.

Mr. Ford is not proposing a free-for-all, by any means. Under what we know of his plan, the province will still handle the wholesale aspect, distribution and online sales. With strict government regulation of supply and a minimum-age requirement for buyers.

The notion that only the government would be responsible to sell cannabis like Ontario’s current liquor and, until recently, beer and wine laws, have plagued those who live in Ontario for too long.

When Ford won the PC leadership, he suggested he was open to the idea of a free market — the premier-designate is a proponent of less government control.

Giving municipalities a one-time veto on brick and motor cannabis retailers, leave little time for local councils to make such important decisions. A premier who boasted of buck-a-beer is now passing the buck on cannabis to mayors.

Quebec, by contrast, is solely relying on its own government alcohol distribution, called the SAQ, for all cannabis sales. Despite offering beer and wine in Quebec corner stores, its government continues to restrict the sale of spirits (with their higher alcohol content) to the SAQ.

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