TORONTO — Ontario’s cannabis retail program will be expanded in the new year as much more shops will be opened to increase competitors and combat the black market place, Premier Doug Ford stated Thursday.
Opening up the market place — a guarantee the Progressive Conservatives year after being elected final year — remains the government’s objective, the premier stated in a news conference.
The Tories had initially stated there could be up to 1,000 cannabis stores in the province, but a provide shortage prompted the government to move to a lottery program for the initial 25 retail licenses.
“Yeah, I feel that is eventually what the objective is, ideal, to open it up to the market place and let the market place dictate,” Ford said. “It’s like any organization. Some folks will be prosperous and some will not.”
The government held a second lottery earlier this year in a bid to bring the quantity of shops up to 75, but critics have stated the province has moved also gradually and can not compete with the black market place. The province has also been criticized for sticking with the lottery system for also lengthy.
Doug Ford stated much more pot shops will be opened in the new year but did not say how quite a few. He acknowledged that Ontario, like other jurisdictions, has had to discover and adapt the program because cannabis was legalized in October 2018.
“It’s been an intriguing time since every person is type of blazing a new trail and we’re going to get it down pat,” he stated.
Finance Minister Rod Phillips stated the province is focused on opening up the cannabis retail market place safely.
“But our concentrate also is to get these shops out,” he stated. “We will be moving, as properly, away from the lottery program and into the open allocation model. That was constantly our objective. We’ll make these announcements when we’re prepared to.”
Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser stated that when the existing cannabis retail program is not operating, the government ought to guard against more than-correcting the scenario.
“They have to be prudent and cautious. … It sounds like we’re just going to blow it wide open.”
Featured Image: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young