Resident does not want pot sold at the LCBO - would prefer to see independent retailers selling the product.

opinionandcommentBy Vince Fiorito

January 9th, 2015


Respectfully, I must disagree with Premier Kathleen Wynne that the LCBO should control marijuana sales in Ontario. If the only issue associated with selling recreational drugs like tobacco, alcohol and marijuana was just keeping them out of reach of our youth during their formative years then I would agree. I would also add that the LCBO and Brewers Retail are models of environmentally friendly packaging and recycling. Bravo.

Marijuana plants“My problems with the LCBO and Brewers Retail are their size, their undue control of the alcohol industry as a regulated monopoly and their limited liability. These organizations have a profit motive to promote and encourage increased alcohol consumption. These organization do not fund drug rehabilitation and counseling programs to reduce the harm to the individual and society from recreational alcohol consumption. ” A large powerful corporation like the LCBO would influence and eventually dictate government policy and control production, like they do now regarding alcohol. Not every bottle of wine or beer gets on an LCBO shelf, to the detriment of small wineries and microbreweries.

Recreation drug policy goals should include educating the public on the risks associated with recreational drug use, with a long term objective to decrease demand.

I believe in a “least harm” approach to guide marijuana decriminalization. I believe that current marijuana laws are more harmful to society and the individual than marijuana use itself. I support marijuana legalization, provided marijuana consumption is regulated to reduce harm to the individual and society. We should not allow large powerful corporations in this business as they become too powerful and difficult to control. For example, because the LCBO is so powerful, we are currently stuck with a system which promotes and encourages alcohol consumption to the benefit of other large corporations and small producers cannot compete fairly with large corporations.

We should not make the same mistakes with the emerging recreational marijuana industry as we already made with the recreational alcohol industry, that are now difficult to change.

marijuana retail

Marijuana on sale $8 a gram – wide selection.

The marijuana industry should be deliberately regulated as sole proprietorships and partnerships to maintain control and create the maximum number of small businesses and jobs. Corporations with limited liability and profit sharing should be kept out of the recreational marijuana industry. Only those directly involved should share the risk and reward of marijuana production, distribution and sales. No profit sharing with limited liability. Overt public advertising should be prohibited, respecting the rights of parents to control what their children know and people who don’t want to see, hear or know about it. A simple standardized symbol over the door of a discreet marijuana cafe is enough.

Marijuana - lady smokingPeople entering a marijuana establishment give implied consent to see legal advertising and promotions inside. Locations of marijuana shops should be strictly controlled by municipal government through zoning and by laws, and they may levy additional taxes. Marijuana production, distribution and sales should be monitored closely for abuses and if the owner/operator breaks the law, they lose their marijuana licenses and face punitive sanctions. Fines for smoking marijuana in public places, similar to tobacco. People may grow a few plants for personal use, similar to vegetables. Need a license to sell.

Corporate control of the marijuana industry, which promotes consumption could lead to marijuana becoming as big of a problem for the individual and society as alcohol is now. If we can’t implement this change in a way that reduces harm to the individual and society, then I would rather marijuana remained illegal with a punitive fine for possession.


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3 comments to Resident does not want pot sold at the LCBO – would prefer to see independent retailers selling the product.

  • Zaffi

    Mr. Fiorito provides excellent insight. I agree that the sale of marijuana not be granted to LCBO stores. In my opinion the sale should be restricted to a limited number of independent locations.

    Another issue to consider is the potential danger imposed to those in society who may be detrimentaly affected by legalization. Society agrees on the adverse effects of 2nd hand tobacco smoke yet we are less aware of the effects of marijuana smoke in public. Though there is anecdotal evidence suggesting that marijuana use may improve the quality of life for some with various medical conditions including seizure disorders there are also others who experience immediate increased seizure activity when subjected to 2nd hand smoke from marijuana. In addition some others may be more sensitive and find themselves unwillingly high as a result of being in the proximity of marijuana users. Marijuana is not like alchohol where one has to ingest it to obtain the affect therefore you have a choice in the result. As it stands now the ACC and the Molson Ampitheatre are both unable to curb the use of marijuana during music concerts though smoking in public spaces is prohibited.

    For the above reasons perhaps the use of marijuana should be restricted to private residences and possibly marijuana cafes.

  • Tom Petch

    I see in this recent letter on marijuana sales a picture of a display,in plan view, of all the products for sale .Let’s not forget that all tobacco products sold in this province are stored out of sight of purchasers. The province also went further with increased restrictions on cigar sales outlets to limit outlets and sales.

  • D.Duck

    This is a simple case of political economics. You already have a LCBO monopoly that makes the provincial a steady revenue and you now add the selling of another controlled substance to its repertoire.

    The provincial gov’t will set the lowest buying price from the manufactures (who have put millions into the processing plants for startup and on-going over and who, in their business plan, thought they were also gong to be the distributors of said product and hence recoup the initial cash outlay which will make their business more profitable) and then the provincial gov’t will increase the selling price 10fold. Not too high that will force the underground market to flourish and not to low so the confers fill slowly).

    This is just simple economics and a provincial money making scheme. It will happen and the true losers will be the ‘pot’ manufactures and the small businesses that were hoping for an open competitive market
    for selling ‘dope’. It’s just business, the problem is that this provincial gov’t has proven on countless times that it cannot run a business.