Brock expert calls Ontario cannabis sales plan a very good start

A Brock University Health Sciences professor says the Ontario government’s cautious rollout of legalized cannabis sales is a reasonable move to walk the tightrope of a politically contentious issue.Department of Health Sciences Associate Professor Dan Malleck, an expert on Canadian drug and alcohol policy and history, says Ontario’s plan to create a cannabis control board and open up to 60 stores in the first year “reflects the politics of the situation.“Governments want to err on the side of caution when they’re dealing with something as historically socially fraught as cannabis,” he says. “Provincial governments are in a tough place because they need to balance social fears about access to cannabis with the problems of black market sales. And they also need to follow legislation and recommendations initiated by the federal government.”Malleck says that while the cautious approach makes sense, it could make controlling the substance more challenging.“Without a good number of access points, it may be difficult to undercut the so-called black market,” he says, adding that it would have been easier to sell cannabis in existing LCBO stores.However, the professor also acknowledges that the Ontario government’s announcement Friday — some 10 months ahead of the July 1, 2018 federal legalization date — is a “very good start.“Having the current liquor control board infrastructure manage distribution is also a good thing. Ontario having a plan in place can provide a good example for other provinces,” he says.