Ontario ‘freezes’ Cannabis Store leasing ahead of possible shift

Photo by Sandro Schuh on Unsplash

Efforts to signal leases for Ontario Cannabis Store retailers have been placed on maintain as the brand new authorities weighs how authorized marijuana shall be bought to shoppers within the province, a number of business sources have informed Marijuana Business Daily.

Executives privately expressed optimism, because the delay probably alerts a pivot to non-public distribution in Canada’s largest market.

Rod Elliot, senior vice chairman for Global Public Affairs and head of their hashish follow, stated the transfer wouldn’t be shocking provided that the brand new authorities is reviewing all spending initiatives.

“It would seem that the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) is currently in a holding pattern and is awaiting political direction from the new Ford administration on how to proceed with the rollout,” he stated, referring to Ontario’s new premier, Doug Ford.

The earlier Ontario authorities dedicated to opening 40 government-owned retail storefronts within the first yr of legalization, which is about to start Oct. 17.

The OCS has not made any location bulletins since April, when it unveiled the one 4 places so far. It’s unclear if the province intends to proceed with these places as introduced.

“Ontario will be ready with a system in place that meets the objectives of protecting youth and eliminating the illegal market,” stated Clint Thomas, communications director for Ontario’s finance minister.

Shift to non-public mannequin? 

Ford beforehand promised consultations on the retail mannequin however didn’t present particulars.

If these consultations end in a shift away from a authorities monopoly, that would open the door for probably tons of of privately owned hashish retailers.

“Intuitively, the new government would likely support a private-sector retail solution for cannabis if it saves the government money,” Elliot stated.

Experts and teachers have urged the newly elected Progressive Conservative authorities to carve out area for entrepreneurs to place the authorized business on a extra aggressive footing with the black market.

However, with the clock counting right down to legalization, one other supply, who spoke with MJBizDaily on the situation of anonymity, stated it’s possible Canada’s largest market might begin with solely on-line gross sales.

The president of the OCS was just lately reassigned, leaving the monopoly retailer with out everlasting management.

Chris Damas, editor of Barrie, Ontario-based BCMI Cannabis Report, stated Ford’s earlier rhetoric hints he’s amenable to private-sector retailing of leisure hashish together with authorities shops.

“The current plan to have 40 stores open by year end and 150 by 2020 is woefully inadequate in usurping the black market for cannabis, and everyone knows it,” Damas stated.

The OCS is about to announce provide preparations with licensed producers within the coming weeks, however it’s unclear the place precisely the hashish merchandise will probably be bought.

This story can be up to date as info turns into obtainable.

Matt Lamers might be reached at [email protected]

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