Retailing Recreational CannabisProvincial Updates
Ontario – Ontario recently released its plan for distributing and selling recreational cannabis and has given rights to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), which is a Crown Corporation. This model was based on public consultation according to the Liberal government, with a lot of weight given to an online survey. According to Ontario Finance Minister, Charles Sousa, the LCBO will reach the 150-store target by 2020 with as many as 80 stores being operational in the first year. They will also sell via an online store. The stores won’t be housed inside government-owned liquor stores. Buyers must be at least 19 years old.
New Brunswick – This province has also created a Crown Corporation to oversee its distribution and has partnered with at least one licensed provider. They are still working out details of the retail model.
Alberta – Alberta conducted public and stakeholder engagements over the summer and has just released the Alberta Cannabis Framework. The Alberta Liquor Store Association conducted a poll showing that 52% of Albertans believe the government should consider allowing liquor retailers to sell recreational marijuana, provided the products are accessed through a separate entrance.
BC – The provincial government is holding consultations to gather input from municipalities, the public, and other stakeholders. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, gave a deadline of November 1 to get this accomplished. The goal is to draft legislation for the spring legislative session. Farnworth said they will form a standing committee on cannabis legalization with the Union of BC Municipalities comprised of representatives and technical experts from both the union and the province. A website has been set up to solicit public opinion and a random telephone survey will be conducted.
Manitoba – This province is looking for outside help to set up a marijuana production and distribution system.
Saskatchewan – An online survey is being conducted by Saskatchewan. Justice Minister, Don Morgan, has asked that survey submissions be in by October 6.
Quebec – Quebec is also conducting an online survey.