Chamber of Commerce out of step with Ontarians when it comes to pot sales

TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2016 /CNW/ - The Chamber of Commerce may want a free-for-all when marijuana sales are legalized next year, but that view is clearly not shared by Ontarians, according to recent polls.

Nanos Research polled Ontarians on the control and sale of legal marijuana in August, finding that more than four in 10 Ontarians (41 per cent) ranked the LCBO as their first choice for where legal marijuana should be sold. Ontarians expressed their trust in both the procedures in place and the LCBO's experience with controlled substances, as well as the controlled environment, when it came to selling the soon-to-be-legal drug.

By contrast, the Chamber of Commerce – in a letter to the Premier – is arguing that licenses to sell marijuana should be auctioned off to create "service delivery competition."

"Putting it to auction, with licenses going to the highest bidder, only creates additional pressure for the winning stores to try to extract as much profit as possible," said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "The result is that store owners will pressure staff to sell as much as possible, at as high a price as possible, to anyone who walks in the front door.

"The dispensaries that are out there are already breaking the law by selling marijuana right now. Why would we think they wouldn't continue to do so when it comes to selling to minors or intoxicated adults when the owners' profits are on the line? The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour – and we can see pretty clearly that these organizations have no respect for the law, or for the safety of their customers."

Thomas pointed out that the Nanos poll shows that Ontarians agree with these concerns, as convenience stores, grocery stores, and privately-owned marijuana stores were the three highest-ranked choices for places the public was not comfortable with controlling and selling marijuana.

"Ontarians know who they trust with their children's safety," said Thomas. "Unfortunately the Chamber is so excited about the possibility of profits that they're choosing not to see the facts that are clear to everyone else."

The Nanos Research poll results can be found at: http://nanosresearch.com/tickers/PDF/POLNAT-S15-T695.pdf

SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

For further information: Craig Ashbourne, A/Communications Officer, 226-821-1725

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