The gang that can’t sell pot.

It pains us to consider the lengths some cartel bosses would go to if it happened to them. Imagine an outfit that cannot even make a profit selling marijuana. We are talking about the Ontario government here! After a full year in the business of selling the stuff, the government swore that they only lost $42 million. While the private sector is doing the heavy lifting in start-up costs, Doug Ford and his incompetents paid out more for product than they could earn in revenue.

And the problem was simple. They did not have the retail outlets to satisfy the market demand. They had strangled the critical need for distribution. They thought 25 stores plus mail order could satisfy the largest provincial market in Canada. Compare that to Alberta, with a market of less than a third of Ontario, having more than 200 stores in operation at the same time.

It is not as though Ontario consumers did without their pot from the government-licensed dealers first fiscal year. Their friendly neighbourhood dealer—with much lower overheads—was there for them. These unlicensed dealers had better prices, quality and even home delivery, if that was your pleasure. They carry their nickel bags in the left pocket and the dime bags in the right. Just tell your dealer your preference in potency.

What is intriguing is the potential for the illegal market to offer their grandma’s own recipes for brownies and other edibles. Judging by the pricing we are hearing for gummy bears and baked goods from the licensed establishments, the home-made products should have an easy time competing.

If all goes according to the government plan, by the end of 2020, Ontario hopes to have almost as many licensed establishments in business as Alberta does now. And the Ontario government apologists will tell you that with a straight face.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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