Four Years Into Legalization, it’s Time to Reimagine Ontario’s Cannabis Strategy

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On 13th October, Daniel Safayeni, Vice President of Policy, Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and Co-chair of OCC’s Ontario Cannabis Policy Council, released the following statement in advance of the 4th anniversary of cannabis legalization in Canada:

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“Rare is the moment when new legislation captures global attention as it did on October 17, 2018, when Canada became the first G7 nation to legalize recreational cannabis. Those who wanted to enter this emerging market faced numerous hurdles and navigated an overly complex regulatory environment.

“While a cautious approach from federal and provincial regulators was understandable at the outset of this nascent industry, in Ontario we have only seen the complexity grow as the industry struggles to compete against illegal actors, who still account for approximately half of all cannabis consumed in the province. With the right regulatory environment and structure in place, we believe Ontario still has an opportunity to be a global leader in cannabis and attract new investments. This will require bold government action. As a starting point, we would like to see licensed producers and retailers have a direct relationship and more transparency and consistency around Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) pricing.

“We are also approaching another anniversary, that of the Auditor General’s (AG) report, released almost a year ago, that outlines a range of vulnerabilities and transparency issues related to the OCS, including the oversight of its delivery service partner. We encourage the government to move swiftly with implementing the recommendations outlined in the AG’s report, particularly when it comes to obtaining more transparency around the OCS’s pricing decisions and markups, product listings, and social responsibility mandate to help displace the illegal market.

“A thriving illegal market undermines public safety and threatens the viability of a robust legal sector. As we approach the 4th anniversary of legalization in our nation, our message is simple: now is the time to reimagine Ontario’s cannabis strategy.”

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