Pat Beggan

An insider source reportedly says the Ontario government will allow for privately owned cannabis shops when Canada’s adult-use market comes online in October, according to a CBC report. The source, who spoke with The Globe and Mail on the condition of anonymity, suggested that the government would maintain its control over cannabis distribution and online sales.

Officials under former Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal administration had planned to give the Liquor Control Board of Ontario a monopoly over the province’s recreational cannabis stores. The new Liberal administration under Premier Doug Ford, however, aims to mirror the Alberta model, which will see private cannabis retailers licensed by the province’s liquor control board.

According to the source, Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli and Attorney General Caroline Mulroney are expected to announce the shift in policy as early as next week. 

Premier Ford reportedly suggested in June he was considering privatizing cannabis retailers, saying at that time he doesn’t believe “government should stick their nose into everything.”

A survey from September 2017 found that the majority of Ontario residents would prefer privately run, not government-run, cannabis retailers.

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