People across Canada this week will walk into stores and legally purchase marijuana. But not in Ontario. A recent and radical restructuring of the cannabis retail regime from public to private, though welcome by many, has left the largest market for cannabis consumption in Canada the least prepared.
Ontarians will instead make their marijuana purchases online through the government-run Ontario Cannabis Store, unable to make any in-store purchases until next April and after the province consults with municipalities, law enforcement, and stakeholders to determine how a privatized bricks-and-mortar model should roll out.
Without question, a slow out-of-the-gate provincial pot monopoly as proposed by the prior government would have been an anachronism destined to miss the mark, to leave consumers underserviced and disinterested, and to shutout a dynamic force for growth in the private sector.
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