The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released its report, Supporting Ontario’s Budding Cannabis Industry. The report outlines Ontario’s competitive advantage and how to capitalize on Canada’s first-mover status in this fast-moving industry.
“With Ontario home to more than half the licensed producers of recreational cannabis in Canada and the majority of cannabis employment held right here in Ontario, we are positioned to lead Canada’s recreational cannabis industry on the world stage,” says Michelle Eaton, Vice President of Communications and Government Relations of the OCC. “Ensuring the private retail market is successful is critical to the long-term viability of the sector. As Ontario’s business advocate, we are committed to shaping responsible public policy to establish us as a competitive, global leader.”
This report provides a comprehensive analysis of Ontario’s cannabis market from the perspective of industry and the role public policy can play to ensure the legal market remains competitive by seizing economic opportunity, eliminating the illegal market, and safeguarding public health and responsible adult consumption.
The report makes a number of recommendations on a wide range of issues impacting the sector including:
• Setting up the private retail market for success by proceeding with a merit-based licensing system and allowing consumers to purchase directly online from licensed producers for the next phase of private retail.
• Addressing Ontario’s supply shortage by developing a common excise stamp to allow producers to more efficiently ship products, and investing in Health Canada’s capacity to license facilities at an accelerated rate without compromising the inspection process.
• Getting regulations around edibles right by striking the necessary balance between prioritizing public safety while effectively eradicating the illegal market as edibles and other methods of cannabis consumption enter the market in late 2019.
• Nurturing Ontario’s talent pool by working with Ontario’s post-secondary institutions, highlighting the variety of education and employment opportunities related to the legal cannabis sector.
“The Province has a role to play in ensuring the legal market remains competitive and seizes the opportunity to be a global leader in the recreational cannabis space,” added Eaton. “We are the first G7 country to federally legalize recreational cannabis use and other nations will look to us when developing their own regulations.”
While many questions remain, including how private retail will unfold in Ontario, the OCC will be working with all levels of government, investors, entrepreneurs, business owners, and post-secondary institutions to establish balanced regulations that consider both public safety and economic growth.