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Town with secret cannabis warehouse rejects Ford’s privatization scheme

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas in the Queen's Park media gallery.

Toronto – The same town where the Ontario government set up its secret cannabis warehouse is banning private retailers, joining 50 other municipalities in just saying no to Premier Doug Ford’s reckless scheme to privatize cannabis sales.

“It’s pretty ironic,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “The Premier put his 78,000-square-foot cannabis castle in Oakville, but the town has made it very clear that it doesn’t want private retail cannabis stores. I doubt they want a privately run warehouse in their backyard either.

“It’s not too late for Ford to abandon his failed privatization policy and switch back to the original plan of putting cannabis sales in the trusted and experienced hands of the LCBO.”

Oakville town council overwhelmingly voted 14-1 against allowing private cannabis stores to open within its borders, with some councillors expressing major concerns with the government’s plan. Mississauga, Milton, Markham, Pickering and Richmond Hill are among dozens of Ontario communities that are opting out of Ford’s privatized scheme before the Jan. 22 deadline.

“It’s no wonder municipalities across the province are just saying no to private cannabis stores – it’s putting communities and children at risk,” said First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida.

Ford is allowing cannabis shops just 150 metres from schools, breaking a key election promise to keep them at least 400 metres away, Almeida added. The Premier also promised that private retailers would be selected based on their ability to sell cannabis responsibly, then suddenly switched to a lottery system.

“More and more municipalities are rejecting Ford’s privatization scheme,” Almeida said. “The LCBO has a long history of socially responsible sales and pumping millions of dollars a year into government coffers. That means better health care and education, and safer roads and communities.”

“The Premier needs to listen to the people of Ontario, who trust the LCBO over private retailers,” said Thomas.

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