Corner stores, LCBO left high and dry by pot report

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Ontario convenience store owners wonder why it appears they’re getting the shaft yet again – this time on cannabis sales – after being excluded this year from selling beer and wine while grocery stores got the green light. “It concerns me that we’re left behind. At least let us be part of the discussion,” said Dave Bryans, president of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association.In a surprise announcement Tuesday, the federal task force studying how to implement the Liberal government’s promise to legalize marijuana recommended it should not be sold at retail outlets where tobacco or alcohol is already sold because of concerns it would encourage pot use.Bryans said the recommendation makes no sense since corner stores are already entrusted with selling nearly all the tobacco plus the majority of lottery tickets in Ontario.“If the government’s top priority is not to let it fall into the hands of minors and we have a strong track record of selling age-tested products like tobacco, then I’m just trying to understand the logic here,” said Satinder Chera, president of the Canadian Convenience Stores Association.Article Continued BelowThe LCBO was snubbed in the task force report too, despite being very vocal lately about welcoming recreational marijuana products to its stores.“I’m very disappointed,” said OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas, whose union represents LCBO workers.He recommends the government-run retailer could instead set up a parallel system to sell cannabis off-site and not in existing locations near its extensive booze selection.

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