The province is on the right track, but it can’t afford to wait four years to get 1,000 stores, and its retailers need a direct line to producers.
Ontario has an opportunity to be a global leader in cannabis, an opportunity that comes with thousands of jobs and considerable economic growth. With province recently putting an end to the retail lottery system for stores and the arrival of legal edibles, extracts and topicals, the province is at an exciting crossroads. If the government continues along a path of reform and develops a strategic policy and regulatory regime now, we could do more to thwart the illicit market and give Ontario a competitive advantage.
Ontario has 24 cannabis retail stores for 14 million people, with another 50 authorized licenses expected to be operational by spring. In comparison Alberta, a province with a population of 4 million people, has opened and supported over 300 privately owned stores. Estimates suggest Ontario’s cannabis market could support 1,000 retail stores and create 14,000 jobs in the retail sector alone. The reality today is that Ontario’s lacklustre retail footprint over the first year of legalization has underserved the market, done little to stop illicit actors from profiting and represents a lost opportunity for industry growth and tax revenue.
– Read the entire article at Policy Options.