If Starbucks were planning to open 40 new stores across Ontario in four months and had no locations picked out, no leases signed, no employees hired, no training conducted and no systems in place, I’d be skeptical about whether they could pull it off. But we’re expecting the Ontario government to open 40 legal marijuana shops by July 1st.
That’s why I wonder if the LCBO should simply sell marijuana in its existing locations. I know the argument is that we don’t want marijuana and alcohol sold side-by-side, but do we really think that by putting them a couple of blocks from each other, we’re going to stop people from buying and then consuming both at the same time? It seems to me it will be pretty easy to stock up on both products.
In an ideal world, the government would let private businesses sell the products rather than give itself a monopoly. But if the government is going to sell marijuana, why create all the extra bureaucracy and infrastructure when the province already has a retail network for controlled substances?