HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Reefer Madness
Pubdate: Mon, 11 Sep 2017
Source: Toronto 24hours (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Inc.
Author: Sarah Hanlon
Page: 2


Weed aficionado Sarah Hanlon rates Wynne's pot plan

The Liberals announced on Friday that legalization of cannabis sales
will be modeled after their experience in alcohol. For Ontario tokers
and industry leaders, giving the LCBO exclusive rights to cannabis
sales was an expected and disappointing move from the province,
underlining the power of the LCBO and Ontario Public Service Employees
Union President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, over sound decision-making.
Here's the 411.

The Good

The proposed minimum age to use, purchase and possess pot will be

In eight U.S. states that have legalized pot, the minimum age for sale
is the same as it is for alcohol consumption.

Police will confiscate small amounts of cannabis from young

Children and young people under the age of 19 caught with cannabis
will not enter the legal system because of the soon-to-be-legal plant.

The Bad

The LCBO will oversee the legal retail of cannabis in Ontario through
new stand-alone cannabis stores and an online order service.

Many are relieved that cannabis and alcohol will not be sold alongside
each other but after years of dealing with the LCBO, Ontario residents
are frustrated to see what feels like a backtrack from a free
marketplace. Just when the people are finally enjoying the loosening
of sales, with grocery stores being able to sell beer, wine and cider,
the Liberals double down with this purely public monopoly on marijuana.

"The use of recreational cannabis will be prohibited in public places
and workplaces."

Ontario will treat cannabis like tobacco and prohibit its public use.
Cannabis lounges, some of which have operated for a decade, are now
under the greatest threat. The fact the end may come in the form of
cannabis legalization is an irony too great to bear for many in the
weed world. Especially because the Legalization Task force recommended
safe places for public consumption.

The Half-Baked

Approximately 150 standalone stores will be opened by 2020. Online
distribution will be available across the province from July 2018 onward.

With only 40 government-run stores planned to open by next summer,
prepare to wait for your weed. With around 100 illegal dispensaries
currently operating in the city of Toronto, 40 stores for the entire
province will not be able to keep up with current demand.

The government promised to crack down on "illicit dispensaries"
selling cannabis in the city, telling them "they are on notice."

The reason 'grey-market' dispensaries exist in such high numbers is
because Canada's medical cannabis system is so overextended and
inaccessible that courts tend to rule on the side of the dispensaries
to improve access. With their plan to use the current medically
licensed producers in Canada for the recreational market, the system
will only become more strained - making the legal standing ground for
dispensaries that much stronger.
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