The Ontario government intends to open 150 marijuana stores across the province and through their own online service, while disavowing and continuing to shut down dispensaries.
A report from The Globe and Mail indicated the Liquor Control Board of Ontario will be tasked with overseeing this model. However, cannabis won’t be sold in liquor stores.
“In order to be ready for next July, our government will bring forward legislation this fall to ensure that even after legalization, cannabis remains a carefully controlled substance in Ontario,” Ontario Attorney-General Yasir Naqvi said, according to the Globe and Mail.
Marijuana Business Daily reported the provincial government plans to have 40 of these regulated cannabis stores and their online distribution ready by the time legalization rolls around next year in Canada, 80 by July of 2019 and 150 on 2020.
The government hopes to have 40 cannabis outlets by July 2018, 80 by July 2019 and 150 up and running by 2020. Online distribution will be available starting next July.
Response from two of the top cannabis companies
Vic Neufeld, the CEO of Aphria (TSX:APH; OTCQB:APHQF) said the proposed approach announced on Friday, September 8, is a good start with “the earmarkings” for a system the industry as a whole can work with in the future.
“Aphria shares the government’s commitment to ensuring a safe and sensible approach to the sale and distribution of recreational cannabis, Neufeld added in the company’s response.
Canopy Growth (TSX:WEED) issued a direct response to the news from Ontario, detailing their position through specific statements.
“We are supportive of this announcement and commend the Ontario government for its leadership,” the company said, applauding the objective of keeping minors away from cannabis and “ensuring a strong regulatory framework” on the model used for the distribution of cannabis.
Canopy also asked the provincial government to allow LPs to continue the sale of cannabis through their online portals. The company also warned the province about the need to have education available to consumers on all types of cannabis.
“Plain packaging behind a counter would only lead to unfavorable and potentially unsafe consumer choices while encouraging consumers to return to the illicit and unregulated market,” Canopy added.