The political situation in Ontario just made a U-turn as Doug Ford and the PCs won the provincial election. But what will this change mean for the cannabis market?
The most populous province in Canada just got a new leader, as Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservative party took the helm of the province in a landslide victory.
Cathleen Wynne, the leader of the Liberal party in Ontario, hasn’t managed to hold onto her seat. Seats won in the Ontario provincial election are as follows:
- Progressive Conservatives – 76 seats
- New Democratic Party – 40 seats
- Liberals – 7 seats
- Greens – 1 seat
With this new leadership getting ready to take over the handles to the province, are there going to be any changes announced in regards to the recreational cannabis model which is soon to be implemented in Ontario?
Ontario has the biggest market in all of Canada when it comes to marijuana, so it is expected that the Progressives are going to try and amend the plan which was put in place by the Liberals.
Will Ontario go private?
Several months ago, Doug Ford hinted that if elected, he would very likely make changes to the suggested recreational cannabis framework which was announced by Wynne.
One of the biggest changes he mentioned was giving more freedom to the market:
“I’m open to a free market and I’m going to consult with our caucus,” said Ford on Ottawa Morning.“I don’t believe in the government sticking their hands in our lives all the time. I believe in letting the market dictate.”
One of the biggest issues Ford had with the plan was the specialty stores, which were supposed to be run by the LCBO-guided Ontario Cannabis Stores (OCS), and their vicinity to schools.
Ford mentioned that he was in favor of cannabis being sold from the LCBO locations, and against introducing the OCS.
To be honest, Ford has been saying just about anything and everything about cannabis, and his position is all over the map.
One of the first OCS stores Wynne announced was supposed to be just 450 meters away from a school, something Ford commented harshly.
Here’s a map of schools in Toronto with a 450m buffer around them:
As you can see from the map, cannabis could be sold only in places which aren’t covered in green, if Wynne’s cannabis model was to be passed.
So far, there are no indications that Ford would go as far as to turn the whole market upside down and allow Ontarians to organize a private retail industry.
However, there are some serious indications that the PCs will make changes to the Ontario cannabis model, as this is something everyone expects.
Seeing how a lot of money has already been spent on organizing the system in place, on paying $650,000 for the OCS logo design, and on a few more things, making any changes to the model could seriously delay the start of sales.
In fact, it is very likely that any type of messing with the model will result in a delay of sales further down the timeline.
One possible change we could see implemented is for cannabis to be sold in actual LCBO stores, as this would save money and time on infrastructure and setting up new stores.
Wynne was seriously against this ever since the system was being set up, as there are dozens of studies and evidence that cannabis and alcohol are much more dangerous for the user and people around them once combined.
Aside from that, Doug Ford and the PCs haven’t been very vocal in regards to how they would set up the cannabis model, but they rather spent their time criticizing Wynne and the Liberal Party’s approach to solving the issue.