On June 7, 2018 Ontario chooses a new provincial government. New cannabis issues must be addressed by the provincial government including the distribution model for the next four years and, given the cost of undoing infrastructure, perhaps for the foreseeable future.
Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberal Party
We all know Kathleen Wynne wants a cannabis monopoly. This will make Ontario less safe as it will force grey market cannabis into back rooms and back alleys where there are no controls. It will enrich organized crime who thrive when the rules are exclusionary and punitive. Public health professionals have known this for years. This is the reason the federal Liberals are partially unwinding the federal cannabis prohibition. Wynne will exacerbate the problems caused by her monopoly by implementing various new liberty-stripping enforcement tools and spending $40 million over two years to better punish cannabis non-compliance. Although the provincial Liberal opposition to cannabis lounges appears to be changing, on the whole, Wynne is bad for cannabis.
Doug Ford and the Ontario PC Party
It might strike some as a strange thing to say, but Doug Ford is the forward-thinking progressive on this issue. He knows that a government monopoly is not going to make Ontario safer, quite the opposite. He knows that monopolies cause inflation, undermine innovation, and provide inferior products. He knows that a government monopoly should not be gratuitously created unless it is necessary and it is not. Government employees are not the only workers capable of checking ID. Bars (liquor), convenience stores (cigarettes and adult magazines), hunting stores (firearms), and more recently grocery stores (liquor) have been doing it just fine. Ontario businesses are able to follow the rules. Nobody is going to jeopardize a cannabis license by failing to follow the rules. Doug Ford and the PC Party have confidence in the private sector. They have faith in small business. If elected they would unleash the ingenuity and entrepreneurship of small business in Ontario and raise a pile of money in licensing fees. Doug Ford is the future.
Andrea Horvath and the Ontario NDP
The NDP platform is silent on cannabis. Andrea Horvath has said the Wynne monopoly will not be enough to stop the black market as it fails to preserve a social aspect to distribution. That is smart. She has said the Wynne plan needs to be overhauled. That is true. But, for what does she stand? She has not articulated a position. She has expressed concern about large cannabis growing facilities in rural Ontario. This smacks of old time cannabis prejudice pandering. Her platform claims concern about the opioid epidemic, but fails to address the many hurdles medical cannabis patients face when they try to transition away from opioids to the safer cannabis alternative. While not the worst, Horvath is mostly invisible on cannabis.
Mike Schreiner of the Green Party of Ontario
Mike Schreiner of the Green Party of Ontario wants to enact a pilot project of private retail next to the government stores. If you are looking for intelligent comments on this issue go to the Green Party website.
Jack MacClaren of the Trillium Party
Long-time popular MPP Jack MacClaren of the Trillium Party believes Ontario small business could be responsibly regulated. If you live in the Kanata-Carlton riding you should support Jack MacClaren. He will be a strong voice for small business.