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Ontario delivers yet another cannabis decision that hurts retailers and helps illegal dealers

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On January 31st, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (ACGO) stated legal cannabis shops in the province will be prohibited from offering online retail options to consumers. This means that the initial 25 cannabis stores in Ontario and the multitude of stores that could open once the province lifts its temporary cap on retail licences won’t be able to offer consumers online ordering for store pickup (click and collect). Nor will they be able to offer any same-day delivery services.

The move to mandate that the province have a monopoly on cannabis e-commerce benefits the government, and the black market, at the expense of consumers.

Having the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) be the only online retailer for cannabis consumers doesn’t make much sense once you factor in that all legal cannabis sold in Ontario has to pass through the ACGO. The retailers who are selling cannabis are required by law to purchase cannabis through the ACGO, which means the government has ample opportunity to ensure regulatory compliance and generate tax revenue. The only........

© Financial Post