Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Quebec: "Congratulations Ontario on finally getting beer in grocery stores!

Good Day Readers:

At times like this CyberSmokeBlog is reminded of that Rick Mercer series of a few years ago, "Talking to the Americans!" where he could get them to acknowledge and support the damnedest causes such as the time Harvard students congratulated Canada on getting its first university. Or when students and professors at a leading American Ivy League University agreed to sign a petition opposing Saskatchewan's annual seal hunt.

OMG, now you can purchase beer in some Ontario grocery stores. My God will marijuana be next so consumers will soon be able to visit their Liquor Control Board of Ontario/Beer Store retail outlets for a "double bud six pack" -  6 Budweiser and half a dozen joints? Add a "munchies" display and the possibilities for generating revenue for the anally fixated sunny ways debt Liberals are enormous.

During the early 1980s while living and working in La Belle Province (Ville de Quebec) beer in grocery stores and local depanneurs (convenience stores) was old hat.

Recall many a night after a long days work stopping in at the local depanneur on the way home to pick up "une grosse cinquante." My God how civilized!
 You have to wonder whether the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Commission is ready for the concept of a double bud six pact.

A special note to Premier Wynne. Woman, please do something to upgrade those Stalinest era Beer Stores which hitherto had a virtual monopoly on beer distribution in the province.
Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk
LCBO should sell pot when legal, Wynne says

Its still unclear when it will hapen, Wynne said Monday at Queen's Park, but when it does the liquor distribution system is "very-well suited to putting in place the social responsibility aspects" that will be required.
Robert Benzie/Queen's Park Business Chief
Monday, December 14, 2015
A liquor store on Queen's Quay in Toronto. The Ontario Public Service Employees Union has also weighed in on who should sell marijuana, with Union President Warren (Smokey) Thomas saying the LCBO "has a solid track record of responsibility selling alcohol and would bring the same service standard to marijuana. (Rick Eglinton/Toronto Star)

Weed with your whisky and wine?

Premier Kathleen Wynne says once Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government moves to legalize marijuana it should be sold in provincially owned LCBO stores.

“It makes sense to me that the liquor distribution mechanism that we have in place at LCBO is very well-suited to putting in place the social responsibility aspects that would need to be in place,” the premier said Monday at Queen’s Park.

Wynne’s surprise comments came the day before she unveils the liberalized sale of beer in the province’s supermarkets. She will be at a Loblaws on Leslie St. on Tuesday morning to launch expansion of selling six-packs.

The government’s Liquor Control Board of Ontario operates 651 outlets across the province, enjoying a monopoly on spirits and imported quality wines.

Its unionized employees are trained to keep alcohol from minors and the visibly inebriated, and work with groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving to promote safe consumption of alcohol.
Emphasizing that marijuana should be controlled and regulated, the premier said she would work with Ottawa to ensure that health and safety are key priorities as legalization rolls out.
“Obviously, I don’t know what the timeline is with the federal government but it seems to me that using that distribution network of the LCBO — as has been talked about in other provinces, using their provincial institutions — I think that that makes a lot of sense,” said Wynne.
Her views echo those of Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger.
“These are all highly addictive drugs and we want to make sure Manitobans get the best opportunity to be protected from them,” Selinger said three weeks ago.
“At the retail level, we would like to do it the way we’re doing liquor in Manitoba right now, to make sure it’s safe,” he said in Winnipeg.
Last month, Ontario Public Service Employees Union president Warren (Smokey) Thomas said the LCBO “has a solid track record of responsibly selling alcohol and would bring the same service standard to marijuana.”
“If legalization happens, marijuana must be a controlled substance, and no one has more experience retailing controlled substances than the workers at the LCBO,” said Thomas, whose union represents LCBO employees.
“There needs to be a strong regulatory framework in place, including minimum age limits, a ban on marketing, and a plan to prevent cannabis-impaired driving,” he said November 23.
“If we let industry write the rules, we won’t make any headway in reducing the social harm from marijuana.”
Thomas noted the LCBO currently conducts more than 500,000 lab tests on spirits, wine, and beer annually and has secure warehouses and a safe distribution network.
“All the infrastructure is in place for a smooth transition to a safer system. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.”
In the October election campaign, Trudeau promised to “legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.”
Such a move would presumably take criminals out of the business and bring money into government coffers through taxation.
If alcohol and tobacco tax revenues are any indication, there are hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to be made from imposing levies on marijuana.
Queen’s Park, which is saddled with a $7.5-billion deficit, collected $1.163 billion in tobacco taxes last year and $3 billion in booze taxes — including $1.8 billion from the LCBO, $565 million from beer and wine taxes, and more than $600 million in Ontario’s share of the harmonized sales tax.
Progressive Conservative MPP Tim Hudak (Niagara West-Glanbrook) last month echoed the concerns of many who oppose the government taking control of marijuana sales instead of opening things up to the private sector.
“Well if gov stores are going to sell pot, at least we know quality will be poor, the price high and the hours lousy #420,” he tweeted with a link to a Star story on Manitoba’s plans.
South of the border, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington have effectively legalized marijuana.
But the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has pointed out that cannabis may not be the panacea for cash-strapped governments, noting total national sales in the U.S. were $4.6 billion in 2012. If the provinces adopt levies similar to Colorado’s, that would generate about $628 million a year across the country.

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