Ontario Chamber of Commerce Pushes Province to Allow Private Dispensaries

In a letter to premier Kathleen Wynne, Ontario‘s Chamber of Commerce is pushing to allow for recreational cannabis to be sold at dispensaries.

The chamber wrote on their website that the government isn’t giving enough consideration to alternate methods of cannabis sale, outside of the provincially controlled LCBO.

The group’s open letter called for more consideration to allow private businesses to sell cannabis, after being licensed by municipalities.

“Members of the business community will not accept a regulatory framework that puts additional pressures on community health and safety. Nor will the business community accept a system designed to maximize government revenue,” wrote Ontario Chamber of Commerce president & CEO Allan O’Dette. “The OCC is calling on the Province to immediately begin a robust consultative process aimed at developing a regulatory framework for the distribution of recreational marijuana.”

O’Dette wrote that allowing the private sector to enter recreational cannabis sales may do a better job of eliminating the black market.

“Special attention should be given to the unintended consequences of an overly regulated regime,” he wrote.”We caution Government against creating a system that is so onerous that it effectively duplicates the existing ineffective regime thus sustaining illegal channels for production and distribution.”

O’Dette wrote that the Chamber of Commerce endorses allowing local communities to have voice in the approval process for both production and distribution of cannabis.

“In the case of a licensing model, for example, licenses should not be issued for communities which have voted against production or distribution facilities,” he wrote.

The chamber is calling for the government to allow for a licensing system, that it said will still limit access to the distribution of cannabis but be more efficient than a government controlled regime.

“Creating service delivery competition, structured by best-practice social responsibility standards, may create a virtuous ‘race-to-the-top’ whereby potential delivery agents are incentivized to be innovative in their application of social responsibility principles,” O’Dette wrote. “This type of innovation will be particularly important in the first phase of marijuana policy implementation and thus Government may want to consider piloting multiple procurement models.”