Ontario’s private cannabis stores ‘prudent decision’: Canopy Growth

Canopy Growth Corporation founder Bruce Linton speaks to the Leeds-Grenville Economic Development Summit in Kemptville, Ont. on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018. Linton says the Ontario government's plan for private licenced stores is a prudent decision. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

KEMPTVILLE – The founder of Smiths Falls marijuana producer Canopy Growth says the government’s plan for a regulated network of roughly 250 stores to start is a “prudent decision.”

The Ontario government released the regulations this week on setting up cannabis storefronts when they officially open April 1, 2019. Right now, people can only buy online through the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS).

“When you go on to a website and buy stuff, for sure you’re going to make a mistake and get the wrong stuff. And if our stuff is what you bought and you bought the wrong stuff, you’re going to blame me even though I couldn’t intercept the stupid decision that you made. So why not go to a store with trained staff?” co-CEO Bruce Linton told an audience of roughly 230 people at the North Grenville Municipal Center Friday morning.

Linton said it was a “prudent decision” by the Ontario government for private cannabis shops because companies like Tweed will sell to a “very profitable” warehouse, which will distribute to stores. That means the Ontario government won’t be paying for brick and mortar stores.

He says Canopy Growth, which has 30-50 per cent market share, is concentrating on provinces that have a network of stores.

“The province will have no capital tied up. I think if people will lose their licence by selling to somebody who is not over 19 they’re probably going to ask everybody who comes in the store for the first two years for ID. Doesn’t matter what you look like. I think that’s going to work much better,” Linton said.

He says “there’s a lot of places where criminals sell cannabis” and the alternative – 35 government-run cannabis stores in a province with 850 liquor stores — “that was not going to work.”

Linton was a keynote speaker during the 10th annual Leeds-Grenville Economic Development Summit in Kemptville.

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