Ontario Cannabis Policy Council New Lobby Group Launching Today – LPC

Daniel Safayeni, Ontario Cannabis Policy CouncilThe Ontario Cannabis Policy Council, a new lobby group launched today, called for more retail stores to curb illegal sales.

“There are already good regulations in place surrounding retail cannabis,” said Daniel Safayeni, Ontario Cannabis Policy Council co-chair. “If you have a robust private retail market then fewer folks are turning to illicit means to purchase their cannabis.” He added that the safety of the product is a “question mark”.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce launched the Cannabis Policy Council because of the frustration with the way Doug Ford has handled retail cannabis stores. Seven of the initial 25 cannabis retail stores were penalized for not opening within a month of the April 1 target date. In the latest lottery of 42 licences, 12 were disqualified for not submitting their supporting materials in time. That is being contested in court and a judge has ordered a cannabis licensing stay.

There is no word on how the delay will impact the October 1 opening date. With less than a week to go, clearly it will. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) saidthat it will “announce revised deadlines” once the issue is settled.

New Perspective Needed in Selling Cannabis – LPC

However you look at it, Ontario’s approach has not been as smooth as other provinces. The Cannabis Policy Council would like to see Ontario follow a model closer to Alberta’s.

“They have already nearly 300 retail stores with a population of four million while Ontario, with a population of 14 million, has only 24 retail outlets. So, we do think there are lessons to be learned,” Safayeni said.

He said the Cannabis Policy Council recognizes that part of the problem may be in moving from an illegal product to a legal industry.

“Some growing pains are to be expected. I think we appreciate that these things don’t happen overnight,” Safayeni said.

The Ontario Cannabis Policy Council includes retailers, licensed producers, post-secondary institutions, legal experts, insurers, and special interest groups.

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