Pubdate: Sun, 10 Sep 2017
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Stephanie Ip
Page: 18


Ontario's plan to sell marijuana from government-operated stores would
never fly in B.C., a local pot advocate says.

Vancouver's Dana Larsen suggests a provincial government store could
never compete with established and independent dispensaries in
offering the same variety of products that consumers seek - such as
different strains and edibles - and that the Ontario government won't
be able to open shops fast enough to keep pace with demand.

"Police raids aside, I don't think this model of legalization competes
at all with what current dispensaries can offer," he told Postmedia
from Toronto, where he was attending the Karma Cup cannabis
competition and festival on Saturday.

"The only way they're going to eliminate dispensaries under this model
is repeated raids and that won't turn all those customers towards the
legal stores - some of them might - but a lot of them will simply
return to the underground black market where they came from."

On Friday, the Ontario Liberal government announced its detailed plan
to sell and distribute recreational marijuana in anticipation of the
federal government's legalization plans next summer.

The province plans to set up as many as 150 dedicated storefronts
across the province by 2020, with the shops being operated by the
Liquor Control Board of Ontario.

Those looking to buy will be subject to the same regulations and
restrictions that apply to alcohol purchase and consumption; buyers
must be 19 or older and consumption is permitted only in private residences.

The first 40 stores will be opened next summer, around the same time
Ontario introduces online marijuana sales.

There are estimated to be about 80 dispensaries operating in the city
of Toronto.

"I'm glad we're having the discussion and moving forward on that, but
the whole system from the federal government down is not going to work
and is going to require a big revamp as they move forward," said Larsen.

While B.C. has yet to announce its own approach, the City of Vancouver
has made moves to regulate private dispensaries, setting up its own
regulatory framework and working its way through a long list of
dispensaries that have applied for licences.
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MAP posted-by: Matt