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OPSEU: Ford’s private cannabis chaos is an early holiday gift to criminals and drug dealers

OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren 'Smokey' Thomas

Toronto – As experts raise alarm bells about the accelerating growth of the cannabis criminal market, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is renewing his call for municipalities to opt out of Premier Doug Ford’s reckless privatized cannabis scheme.

“It’s absolute chaos, and only one group of people is happy about it: criminals,” said Thomas. “If the Premier had stuck to the original plan of selling cannabis responsibly through the LCBO, we’d already have a reliable supply and at least 40 stores open across the province, putting a serious damper on illegal pot shops and drug dealers.

“Instead, we have to wait until April to get half as many stores. With each passing day, criminals profit and our kids and communities suffer.”

Thomas said the Ford government’s recent admission that fewer stores than promised will be opening in April is far from its only failure on this file:

  • Ford promised during the election that he’d ensure cannabis stores would be kept at least 400 metres from schools. But now he’s allowing them within just 150 metres.
  • Ford promised that private retailers would be chosen based on their ability to sell cannabis responsibly. But now he says they’ll be chosen by lottery.
  • Ford promised to govern with transparency and accountability. But he continues to hide the contract details of the private cannabis warehouse that OPSEU tracked down to the 78,000-square-foot facility at 2670 Plymouth Drive in Oakville.

“Confusion, chaos and corruption: That’s what you get when you try to hash out important public policy on the fly,” said OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “Criminals are laughing all the way to the bank, and we’re all left paying the price.”

Thomas and Almeida are urging the province’s 400-plus municipalities to follow the lead of cities like Mississauga and Markham, which have already voted to opt out of Ford’s privatized scheme, and demand a plan that gives them the choice of having the LCBO sell cannabis in their communities.

“Municipalities can still take their power back from Ford and get control of this growing crisis,” said Thomas. “They should opt for a responsible plan – and just say no to Doug’s.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931