Union President Says Cannabis Should Be Sold in Ontario Liquor Stores

The president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union said the federal government’s plans to legalize cannabis should allow for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to sell marijuana through its stores.

President Warren Thomas said the province’s stores are in a good position to deal with cannabis sales, with a secure warehouse system and distribution network already in place.

“There would not be any need to reinvent the wheel,” Thomas said “For one thing they have the social responsibility part covered — they do age checks, they do refusals if somebody’s intoxicated.”

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger made a similar claim, last week, when he said government liquor stores were the best place to sell marijuana.

“We’d like to do it under the existing system we have, which is a publicly offered service, with some exceptions in small communities where there is no [government] provision,” said Selinger. “We would want any employee in one of our outlets to be well-trained, to be able to inform the public of any of the potential health risks or safety risks, and do it without consuming the products.”

No officials from the B.C. government have commented on the future of legal cannabis and how sales may be managed, but B.C. Government and Services Employees Union treasurer Paul Finch said he thought liquor stores would be an ideal place to sell recreational cannabis.

“In a variety of stores, you have trained professional staff throughout the province who are already doing a good job of regulation the sale of alcohol. We think it’s a similar exercise with marijuana,” said Finch.

Thomas said he didn’t think allowing cannabis sales at the province’s liquor stores for add jobs, but may improve job security for current employees.