Put Cannabis Sales In Liquor Stores


Alimentation Couche-Tard is lobbying the Quebec government to be able to sell cannabis in its corner stores.

Bad idea.

Your agent is not crazy about legalizing cannabis anyway, but putting it in corner stores is asking for trouble. Parents don’t want their children exposed to cannabis usage on the way in to the store to buy a chocolate bar.

The solution for provinces with their own alcohol distribution system is to sell cannabis out of those safe, tightly controlled operations of adult patrons … liquor stores.

It will cut down on the neighbourhood fights to put cannabis sales in private locations near homes, schools and playgrounds with only spotty regard for age when buying grass.

The SAQ and LCBO are the perfect spots to sell cannabis, if it has to be sold at all (yes just what society needs … another legal intoxicant … hasn’t alcohol caused enough damage?)

The liquor stores are part of the community now … no new zoning fights, no outraged parents. Only people outside of the municipal sphere could be so uninformed about how communities work to suggest corner-store cannabis sales.

Community fights over locating private cannabis shops will be furious and will divide communities.

Mitigate the fight by putting grass sales in liquor stores.


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6 thoughts on “Put Cannabis Sales In Liquor Stores

  1. What about all those entrepreneurs who jumped the gun on the federal legislation when they opened their dispensaries? Shouldn’t people who willfully break the law be compensated by the government when their ill-considered efforts are confounded by government policy?

    All kidding aside, Ken, I struggle with the province being in the business of selling liquor, let alone adding cannabis to the product line. I am of the opinion that the sale of liquor and other intoxicants should be regulated and taxed. However, I think that governments should limit their activities to things that either should not be done by the private sector, such as providing police and fire protection services, or where there is no viable business model for the private delivery of goods and services, such as internet access for people in geographically remote locations in places like the Arctic islands.

    1. I understand your sentiment on this, Ron. And it’s something I’m sympathetic to.

      But seeing corner pot shops with very little security in family neighbourhoods is bothersome to me. They look like targets for every hold-up man in town. There’s a reason that almost every liquor store in the U.S. has a loaded gun behind the counter.

      I guess I’m being an optimistic pragmatist. The shopping experience at the LCBO is a pleasant one for the most part, it’s good at what it does, it polices underage buyers and with luck some money finds its way back into health care rather than building an extension on the pot-shop owner’s house.

      Most of all, it eliminates the fight to keep pot shops out of neighbourhoods.

      For what it is worth, that’s my call.



      1. Ken, as I said, I struggle with this. My libertarian leanings are at odds with the concept of government run liquor sales. However, I agree with your sentiments on the dilemma of how to ensure that cannabis is sold in a responsible manner.

        I would also add to that whatever solution is arrived at in 2018, the supply chain needs to be highly regulated. If the province decides to allow independent dispensaries, then they need to ensure that the only purchases made by the dispensary are from licensed producers. This would require significant resources to ensure compliance. Failure to do so would not address the objective of the federal government to eliminate (to be realistic, minimize) the participation of organized crime in the business of supplying cannabis.

        I have greater confidence in the LCBO using licensed sources of supply than I do independent dispensaries. After all, the current array of dispensaries are unlikely to be sourcing their products from licensed producers, for licensed producers are only permitted to sell directly to a patient with a prescription. If a licensed producer was selling to a dispensary, then their licence to produce cannabis products would be subject to revocation and the management and perhaps directors would be subject to criminal charges for trafficking a controlled substance.

        1. I agree with both of you that the security of the neighbourhood and the proprietor means that the LCBO is probably the best place for cannabis sales.
          I also think that the user would come out ahead as well since they could be more secure in purchasing a product that was what it was being represented as. A secure supply chain would protect the buyer from contraband. If you’re using it for medical purposes, it’s important that the dosage is what it’s supposed to be so you get the pain relief you need.

  2. I am with Ken on this one. Keep it at the LCBO. Perhaps many years down the line after we have fully evaluated and understand the impact and implications of the drug, then perhaps it can be sold more widely. That will be many years from now.


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