As Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau moves ahead with legalizing pot, liquor stores across the country are racing to get a slice of the profitable marijuana market.
First, came the province of British Columbia, where liquor retailers have teamed up with unionized workers in the public system to call for weed to be sold in liquor outlets.
Then, Manitoba’s Premier, Greg Selinger, expressed an interest in getting pot into the government-run liquor stores in his province.
Now, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, is calling for marijuana to be sold though the state-owned Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO)—one of the largest and most profitable liquor retailers on the planet.
“It makes sense to me that the liquor distribution mechanism that we have in place at LCBO is very well-suited to put in place the social responsibility aspects that would need to be in place,” Ms. Wynn, told The Star.
President of Ontario’s Public Service Employees Union, Warren Thomas, agreed, noting that LCBO’s “secure warehouses and distribution system” were well suited to handle pot.
“All the infrastructure is in place for a smooth transition to a safer system,” he said in a statement. “If legalization happens, marijuana must be a controlled substance, and no one has more experience retailing controlled substances than the workers at the LCBO.”
Such a move would presumably take criminals out of the business and bring money into government coffers through taxation.
If alcohol and tobacco tax revenues are any indication, there are hundreds of millions of dollars to be made from imposing levies on pot.
Meanwhile, some are finding humor in the juxtaposition between pot sales and LCBO’s brand image with its classy-looking ads for expensive Scotches and in-store samplings of premium wines.
Progressive Conservative lawmaker, Tim Hudak tweeted: “I look forward to first glossy LCBO brochure promoting the high end pot and recommended munchies to go with it.”