Ontario gov't gives in to "legal" privately-run pot storefronts

17 Août, 2018, 06:09 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Toronto Sun files

A government agency called the Ontario Cannabis Store will sell pot online once it is legalized on October 17, and a "tightly regulated" private retail model will be in place by April 1, 2019. Long-term sentiment is positive from experts.

The province will begin consultations with several groups including businesses, consumer groups, municipalities and law enforcement next week and will examine the retail models planned by Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Ontario Attorney General Caroline Mulroney said at the news conference.

Initial plans called for the drug to be sold in retail outlets run by the government, in a fashion similar to how alcohol is sold in 17 USA states.

Emery says millions of Canadians are already purchasing marijuana through illegal avenues and he doesn't see that changing until cannabis is legally available in shops.

"Simply put, relying exclusively on online sales until April 1 isn't an accessible enough model to sway people away from the black market", Clement said.

And recent signals from the government in Ontario, the country's most populous province, indicate that lawmakers are also willing to reverse course, or at least entertain the possibility of privately run retail outlets.

Legal sales are expected to reach US$4.9 billion by 2022, according to a report by USA cannabis research firms Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics. OCS, a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) announced the Ottawa-based company's online and mobile sales portals will be used to develop a framework for selling recreational cannabis.

Under this plan, Ontario municipalities will also have a one-time window to opt out of allowing brick-and-mortar cannabis retail stores in their communities.

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"We'll have more details when we announce the retail rollout", he said.

Pat Vanini, executive director for the Association of Municipalities Ontario, said members of her organization have many questions about the government's new plan and are eager to get answers with the legalization date looming.

Canopy Growth Corp. closed trading down 8.25 per cent, Aphria Inc. lost 9.54 per cent and Aurora Cannabis Inc. slid 9.8 per cent on Tuesday.

The Horizons Marijuana Growers Index ETF (NEO:HMJR), which tracks small-market-cap cannabis stocks across North America, suffered a 5.68-percent drop, according to the Aequitas Neo Exchange live tracker.

Private retailers will have to follow a series of provincial rules, such as prohibiting the sale of cannabis to anyone under the age of 19.

Prior to Monday's announcement, Canaccord Genuity analyst Matt Bottomley wrote that "we believe a shift to private retail could further complicate an already challenging process and result in a slower ramp for rec sales in Ontario".

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. This article is not paid-for content.

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