A recent opinion poll by Nanos about marijuana legalization is starting to get some attention. One of the stranger findings was that 41% of those surveyed think that legal cannabis should only be sold by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). What makes the finding so strange is that very few of the participants in the study use cannabis and years worth of data shows that most of the citizens of Ontario don’t like the way LCBO manages the selling of liquor.
Existing Problems With LCBO
Digging deep into the data, it seems the primary reasoning behind trusting LCBO with legalized marijuana sales is that it will keep cannabis out of the hands of children. But, the participants of the study forget all the issues LCBO has just selling liquor.
First, LCBO makes it difficult for legal drinking age adults to get liquor. It’s stores keep hours no private, profit minded business would. Because it is a monopoly there are issues with pricing, customer service, access, and selection. LCBO doesn’t actually keep liquor away from kids. If that were so, Ontario would have a much lower incidence of teenage alcoholism than it does.
Private convenient stores sell cigarettes to adults, all without issue. The teen smoking rate is trending down, while the same cannot be said for the teen-drinking rate.
If LCBO can’t keep liquor out of the hands of kids, why would it be able to do the same with cannabis? More likely, the high prices, low selection, and limited hours would invite a black market to compete with LCBO for marijuana sales. Drug dealers don’t check IDs.
Medical Marijuana Issues
Lost among all the talk about how legalized marijuana should be sold are the medical marijuana users who can already legally buy cannabis. If marijuana sales were limited to LCBO locations, it would be a hardship on patients who desperately need their medicine.
Limited selection could also be a hazard for medical marijuana patients. Not all strains of cannabis are the same. Some are grown for pain management, others are better at promoting sleep, and still others are best for other medical issues. If LCBO is in control, patients will lose the life changing access they have fought so hard for the past two decades.
Dangers of Cannabis at the Liquor Store
Having a liquor store sell marijuana also presents some dangers. Liquor and cannabis are a notoriously bad mix. In the wrong quantities, they are fatal. How many people will go into a LCBO store and just get marijuana? Most will also pick up some liquor because the store is so inconvenient to get to. Once people have both weed and alcohol in their possession at the same time, it makes it much more likely that the two will be mixed inappropriately.
It is also unlikely that the employees of LCBO will be experts in marijuana. They barely know anything about the liquor they sell. Having employees who don’t know anything about a product with as many uses as cannabis could be a recipe for disaster. This ignorance combined with all the issues mentioned earlier will make black market marijuana a certainty all throughout Ontario.
Having LCBO also sell legalized marijuana is a horrible idea. It’s almost as bad as making decisions about legalized marijuana based a poll of people who never use marijuana.