The Ford government’s latest reset of its disastrous decision to privatize cannabis sales is bound to make an already bad situation worse, says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
“What will it take for the government to understand that cannabis retail stores need to be operated by trained professionals?” asked Thomas.
Thomas can’t believe the Ford government is set to move to an “open allocation” system for issuing retail cannabis licenses as early as January that could result in over 1,000 outlets across Ontario.
“I can’t figure out why the Conservatives think it makes sense to continue on with this privatization disaster,” said Thomas. “We need a Responsible Plan, the kind of plan the previous government had that would have put cannabis sales in the hands of the LCBO.
“Polls have shown us that Ontarians are 11 times more likely to trust the LCBO than private retailers when it comes to keeping cannabis out of kids’ hands,” Thomas added.
“This is a matter of public safety. LCBO stores have trained professionals who have the training and experience to handle sales of controlled substances.”
Over a year ago when the discussion around cannabis retail stores began, the Ford government made a number of promises – promises they are now breaking, says Thomas.
“They promised a tightly regulated system. What does this new plan involve? It involves flooding the market. How is that responsible? The second promise was to keep our kids safe. This doesn’t keep our kids safe.”
“Our members who operate LCBO stores are experts in responsible sales,” he adds. “They keep our kids and our communities safe because they are trained and qualified. They take social responsibility seriously.”
It’s time for Ford to give up trying to find solutions for a problem that doesn’t exist, says OPSEU First Vice President/Treasurer, Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida.
“The solution has been there in front of them all along,” says Almeida. “How many failed attempts and half-baked ideas are they going to try?”
“First Mr. Ford hits us with a crazy lottery scheme that resulted in only a handful of stores operated by people as random as the process that selected them and now he just wants to open this up as a free-for-all? We need a clear and thoughtful plan, and the LCBO is the solution.”