The question of the day is, how many times can Ontarians say they want dispensaries before the government starts listening?
As Canada walks the path toward legalization, each province is deciding how legal cannabis should be sold. The Ontario Provincial Government has gone on record showing their interest in having marijuana in government-controlled liquor stores such as the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).
Yesterday, Toronto Mayor John Tory sent out an open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne. As part of the letter, Tory stated that he is against dispensaries in various residential and commercial areas in Canada’s largest city.
“I have made it clear that while I support the legalization of marijuana, I do not think the people of Toronto would support the future widespread location of outlets for the sale of marijuana in residential neighborhoods or in certain retail areas,” said Tory.
Tory clearly has not seen the recent study published in the Journal of Economics that shows the forced closure of cannabis retail facilities is directly associated with an increase in the local crime rate.
Despite the Ontario Government’s trepidation over privately-owned cannabis outlets, poll after poll has indicated that people in the province want dispensaries for safe and convenient access to cannabis.
“Consumer Choice Centre is a grassroots organization that focuses on market access and consumer choice,” said North American Affairs Manager David Clement, in an interview with Marijuana.com. “We look at instances where the government, from our perspective, is over regulating or over asserting itself into the choices of consumers.”
Clement added that the polls yet again show a similar result to past queries. “We looked at cannabis and the LCBO. Ontarians do not want cannabis to be sold through the LCBO, they want private retail.”
Clement went on to describe the line of questioning that lead to this scientific conclusion. “We asked people specifically, should legal cannabis be sold via licensed private retailers instead of the LCBO? The majority of respondents said they would prefer it to be sold via private retail. About 55 percent.”
A further section of the poll asked about vape lounges or any social club dedicated to the consumption of marijuana. While those types of establishments are against the law today, a significant portion of the public wants social consumption options. “When we asked people about lounges for consumption, we had just under 50 percent of respondents say that they are in favour. The opposing is at 46 percent.”
Based on the results of this study, Clement believes the provincial government should listen to the voters who put them in office. Those same people who have said, time and time again, that dispensaries and lounges are preferred. “The government should listen to the wants of consumers here.”
The poll was conducted between June 25th and June 28th, 1,000 people in Ontario were surveyed.