Doug Ford, brother of the late Rob Ford has said he wants to open the cannabis market up to be free and fair, he wants to cut the carbon tax and he wants to repeal Ontario’s Sex Ed program.

This signals a step in the right direction on all three fronts if in fact he keeps his promise however he is a politician so we’ll see how that goes!

In this video: Dan Dicks of Press For Truth speaks with Chad Jackett of Liberty Farms about the latest news surrounding Doug Fords campaign trail.

Video source Press for Truth

Is Doug Ford’s position on cannabis sales an opportunity for the NDP?

The Ontario PC leader’s pro-privatization plank on weed sales is there for the New Democrats’ picking

by Catherine McIntyre

Legalizing pot was among Justin Trudeau’s most memorable promises in his run for Prime Minister. The pledge attracted droves of supporters fed up with restrictions against a substance which, by many accounts, is far less harmful than alcohol. It may even have lured in some folks who bought into his rhetoric that legalizing weed would “remove the criminal element” linked to cannabis.

Now that they’ve received the legislative baton from Ottawa, it’s up to the provinces to detail how marijuana distribution and sales will roll out in their jurisdictions. Some, including Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, have agreed to allow private companies to sell cannabis. In Ontario, the Liberal government is taking another approach. Not only will it regulate pot, it will distribute and sell it through its crown corporation, the LCBO.

The plan is woefully unpopular among a vocal group of cannabis proponents and Kathleen Wynne naysayers. Some worry strict regulations will quash the indie entrepreneurial spirit of the dispensary model, which now operates illegally in many Canadian cities. They fear “Big Cannabis” and say it’s not fair for the government to box out public players and reap all the benefits themselves. Some argue the restrictive model won’t meet consumer demand, nor will it snuff out the black market. They call Ontario’s weed regulations “fake legalization.” Some are simply sick and tired of what they see as the government over-regulating everything.

“I don’t need the government to save me from my own decisions,” says Abi Roach (her public, not real, last name), who contests the current distribution plan for all the aforementioned reasons. Roach is a director for the Cannabis Friendly Business Association and volunteers for Sensible Ontario, a marijuana interest group that lobbies for private marijuana sales, among other things.

So when Doug Ford took to the airwaves this week suggesting he’d liberalize weed and alcohol distribution and sales, a mass of undecided voters leaned in towards him, tilting the electorate subtly to the right. (Ford has since softened his language on the subject, saying “we got to be super, super, super careful” in regulating the cannabis market.) “I’ve heard it a million times,” says Roach, referring to Ontarians, motivated by private pot and alcohol sales, pledging to vote Conservative for the first time in the next election.

Kate Robertson has heard it, too, but she’s not convinced voters will follow through. “Right now we’re seeing cannabis activists who would generally be advocating from the left, using this right-wing ideology to try to gain political support for their cause leading up to this election,” says Robertson, a content editor at Lift, an online cannabis marketplace. In other words, public support for Ford’s cannabis platform may be more political tactic than genuine interest in voting for him: proponents of private sales hope other parties will feel pressured by the popularity of his position and change their own platforms.

Polls suggest Ontarians are split on whether they want a public or private business model for weed distribution. In a Nanos survey from July 2017 32 per cent of respondents said they support having marijuana sold by “licensed and regulated private retailers instead of the LCBO” once it’s legalized, and 31 per cent oppose the private model. Meanwhile, six per cent are undecided, 23 per cent “somewhat support” a private model and nine per cent “somewhat oppose” privatization. The third of people with no strong feelings on the matter, or who are undecided, are not likely to be swayed by Ford’s free-market position.

Even Roach, a staunch marijuana activist and political leftist, isn’t swayed by Ford just yet. “I’m glad he got the conversation going, but I don’t know if he changed my mind,” she says. “He’s conflicting because people who would usually vote NDP and would support the left are now looking at Ford,” she continues, “but on other things he’s saying, [voters on the left] are not in agreement. I need to hear the rest of his platform.”

With many marijuana advocates having long ago lost confidence that the Liberals will represent their interest, Roach and Robertson agree that Ford’s comments on privatization are, more than anything, an opportunity for the NDP. To date, the Ontario New Democrats have been virtually silent on the province’s marijuana game plan, which could change entering campaign season. “I’m hoping that the NDP comes out with their platform and we make this an election issue,” says Roach.

Either way, Robertson argues that the issue of marijuana distribution isn’t going to lure voters to the ballot boxes like legalization did in the last federal election. “I think legalizing something is very different from regulating how it’s distributed,” she says. “I just don’t think the distribution piece is as hot.”

Article source Macleans

Doug Ford wants free market for cannabis in Ontario

‘I’m open to a free [cannabis] market and I’m going to consult with our caucus,’ Ford says

Newly elected Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford says he’ll cut taxes and repeal Ontario’s sex education curriculum, and is open to a hands-off approach to cannabis once it’s legalized.

“I don’t believe in the government sticking their hands in our lives all the time. I believe in letting the market dictate,” he told CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning on Tuesday.

The former city councillor won the PC leadership race Saturday following a tumultuous convention sparked by the resignation of Patrick Brown, who left the party earlier this year amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Brown entered the race briefly before bowing out.

In his first week of campaigning, Ford promised to repeal Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum, cut the carbon tax and end provincial taxes for people making $30,000 or less a year.

‘I believe in letting the market dictate’

Q: What are your plans for regulation and enforcement for marijuana when it becomes legal? Would you privatize pot stores?

A: We’re going down a path that no one really knows. I have been open to a fair market and letting the markets dictate. I don’t like the government controlling anything no matter what it is…. I’m open to a free market and I’m going to consult with our caucus…. I don’t believe in the government sticking their hands in our lives all the time. I believe in letting the market dictate.

Q: Will you be cutting public service jobs?

A: No, I won’t be… I don’t believe in the word cuts, I believe in efficiencies. We drive efficiencies in the private sector, we will start driving efficiencies in the public sector as well.

Carbon pricing ‘a job killer’

Q: You’ve said no to any kind of carbon pricing. How will you make up for the billions of dollars of revenue from the tax?

A: It’s only crucial if you want to make it crucial. It’s a job killer and an absolutely terrible tax. It puts us on an unfair playing field…. You are trying to compete against other jurisdictions in the world that don’t have a carbon tax and all it does is drive up cost of all goods. It’s hurting everyone in Canada…. People don’t want to be punished because of this carbon tax and there are other ways out there of being environmentally friendly.

Q: You’ve said recently you plan to repeal Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum. In the past, you talked about reviewing it. Which is it?

A: We are going to repeal it because this is an issue of respecting parents. Parents weren’t consulted and they should have been. What happens to our own kids is our business. It’s not about the liberal ideology that’s being breathed down our backs from [Ontario Premier] Kathleen Wynne.

‘I don’t give 2 hoots about Donald Trump’

Q: Are you Ontario’s version of Donald Trump?

A: No…. But look what is happening south of the border; we have trillions of dollars going into that country because they dropped the tax rate. Unemployment is [the] lowest in 20 years and manufacturing jobs are coming back…. I’m Doug Ford and we’re going to turn this province around. I’m focused on Kathleen Wynne and I don’t give two hoots about Donald Trump. I’m focused on Ontario.

Q: You’ve promised to freeze Ontario’s minimum wage at $14 an hour. But would you roll back the hike to minimum wage?

A: No, I wouldn’t. It’s not that I like it. Sixty-thousand people have been laid off so far and it’s going to continue…. When the minimum wage goes up, the government is gouging you — there’s a little hypocrisy happening there. What I plan on doing is anyone making $30,000 or less will be paying zero tax and because of that they are going to have $160 extra every month in their pockets. I’m going to reduce taxes and put money into the pockets of the most vulnerable.

The interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity.

Article source CBC News

Kathleen Wynne calls Doug Ford pot privatization comments ‘reckless’

Ford has opposed government control of industry, is open to a free legal cannabis market

Ontario’s premier is calling Doug Ford’s comments on marijuana sales “reckless” after the Tory leader suggested legalized pot be sold in places other than government-run stores.

Premier Kathleen Wynne says Ontarians don’t want “cannabis sold next to candy bars” in corner stores.

Ford, who was elected leader of the province’s Progressive Conservatives late Saturday, told CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning Tuesday he’s open to greater privatization of marijuana sales, adding that the government should move slowly on the issue.

Wynne says her Liberal government did a lot of research before deciding on the plan to closely regulate the sale of cannabis once it’s legalized this year.

Ontario plans to roll out an initial wave of 40 government-run stores this summer, which are expected to grow in number to 150 by the end of 2020.

In January, the Ontario government inked a deal to use Shopify Inc.’s e-commerce platform for cannabis sales online.

Article source Canadian Press

Doug Ford flip flops on private pot: wants government monopoly, would favour prohibition

March 16, 2018 by Paul McKeever

f you thought Doug Ford was promising a free market for cannabis sales, Doug has some disappointing news for you: that dream is now officially up in smoke. Yesterday, Ford told Alan Carter, the host of Focus Ontario that, for the foreseeable future, he is in favour of the Wynne government’s planned government monopoly on cannabis distribution and sales. Ford even says that, if he had it his way, cannabis would not be legalized at all.

Like deposed PC leader Patrick Brown – who went from opposing the Wynne sex ed curriculum to praising it, and who went from opposing the putting of a “price on carbon” to embracing one – Ford has betrayed a major constituency. Just days ago, Marc Emery (aka “The Prince of Pot”) – who historically has been willing to support any political party that promises to repeal cannabis prohibition, and who is arguably the most well known opponent of prohibition – was willing to support Ford’s bid to win the June 7, 2018 provincial election. Now, however, Emery is livid with Ford: “Only took Doug Ford 24 hours to completely backtrack and reverse his position on cannabis retail in Ontario. Supports the monopoly LCBO model now. No private retail for the foreseeable future. So disappointing!”, tweeted Emery in response to Ford’s interview by Carter.

Those who are more familiar with the big-government history of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party won’t find Ford’s private pot flip flop surprising in the least. The PC party is not a pro free market political party. To the contrary, it is the party that gave us the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) government monopoly on the distribution and retail of all alcohol in the province (Beer Stores in Ontario are a licensed arm of the LCBO, which dictates all booze prices in Ontario). That monopoly was created by the Ferguson conservatives in 1927 and, despite 42 consecutive years of PC government in Ontario (1943 to 1985), the PCs never saw fit to end the monopoly.

At least they were being consistent. The PC party is also the party that nationalized and monopolized hydro in the province, banned private health insurance, imposed a government health insurance monopoly (OHIP), and introduced the provincial income tax to pay for it. Point to just about any government monopoly in Ontario, or to almost any tax (e.g., the gasoline tax, the retail sales tax, the provincial income tax), and you’ll be pointing at a creation of a Progressive Conservative government.

The bottom line: a large portion of the PC party membership – many of whom are social conservatives – are opposed to cannabis legalization. Just as they have been opposed to private sales of booze, they are opposed to private sales of cannabis. Federally, they vote Conservative, and the Conservative Party of Canada has kept their loyalty by not only keeping prohibition in place, but by cracking down on pot (Conservative Justice Minister Rob Nicholson signed the extradition papers that resulted in Emery’s years-long incarceration in the USA). As a healthy proportion of the PC rank and file see it, if the federal Liberals are going to legalize cannabis, the role of the provincial government should be to make it as difficult and impractical as possible to buy the stuff. For them, private stores and a competitive free market for cannabis is just not on, if Ford wants to have their support in the coming provincial election.

This was a particularly humiliating flip flop for Ford and the PCs. Ford had been using all of the usual macho-sounding phrases about “free markets” and government getting out of peoples’ lives. Libertarians and fiscal conservatives were getting excited. But its one thing to talk the talk, and another to walk the walk. Ford’s short-lived free market super-hero role has been revealed to be play-acting; a facade. Here’s how the whole comical spectacle of Doug Ford’s most noteworthy flip-flop (so far) unfolded.

February 15, 2018 (1st PC leadership debate): Steve Paikin asks the candidates about a private sector role for cannabis sales and marketing. Caroline Mulroney gives a tentative answer, focused on wanting to know more about why the current government’s solution – a government monopoly – has been chosen. In response,

Paikin asks Mulroney: “Do I infer from your answer that you do potentially see a role for the private sector in the sale of cannabis somewhere down the road?”

Mulroney: “I do.”.

Paikin: “Doug Ford?”.

Ford: “I agree. This is the emerging market. I think it should be treated similar to liquor, beer, wine. I don’t like the government getting involved. I don’t like the government having a monopoly on any business.”

So as at February 15, 2018, Ford sees a role for the private sector in the sale of cannabis “somewhere down the road”. [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThzTrGqENHA&t=36m52s ]

March 12 or 13, 2018: Now the PC leader, Doug Ford is interviewed by the Globe and Mail. It reports as follows: “With the introduction of legal marijuana expected this year, Premier Kathleen Wynne has unveiled plans for a government monopoly called the Ontario Cannabis Store. Mr. Ford said he was open to free-market involvement, but said the government should move slowly in this area.” [ https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-doug-ford-open-to-privatizing-liquor-sales-and-dropping-foreign-buyers/ ]

March 13, 2018: During an interview on CBC’s “Ottawa Morning” radio program, host

Robyn Bresnahan asks Ford: “What are your plans for regulation and enforcement of marijuana, when it becomes legal?”.

Ford answers: “Well, this is a new avenue that we’ve, we’ve, uh, you know, we’re going down a path that, uh, no one really knows. Right, right now we’re gonna, uh, sit down, with the caucus. And, uh, I’ve always be open to a fair market. I let the market dictate. I don’t like government controlling anything, no matter what it is.”

Bresnahan: “Oh. So does that mean that you would privatize pot stores?”.

Ford: “Well, let, let’s take a look at it. Again, us, we’re we’re gonna come, come up with a pretty good policy on that and, uh, we’re gonna see.”

Bresnahan: “You are a fan of small business. That’s why I asked you the question. Did…”.

Ford (interrupting): “I’m, I’m open, I’m open to a free market, and I, I’m gonna consult with our, our caucus, and, uh, we’ll be able to, come up with a very strong game plan.”

Bresnahan: “So ‘free market’ meaning that it would not be government-run?”.

Ford: “Well I don’t believe in the government stickin’ their hands in, in, in our lives all the time. You know? I just don’t believe it. I believe in letting the market dictate.”  (cannabis discussion starts at 11 mins :32 secs) ]

March 14, 2018: At a press conference, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne (leader of the Ontario Liberal Party) tells reporters: “I think that, um, a lot of parents would have concerns about cannabis being available beside candy bars in, uh, in corner stores. You know, as a grandmother, I’d be uh, I’d be worried about that. It seems reckless to me. We took a lot of time to develop a plan for distribution of cannabis when it becomes legal, uh, uh, under the federal law. We took a lot of time to, um, figure out how to do a distribution safely and responsibly. I think that’s what people expect. There would be a recklessness to doing what Doug Ford is suggesting. My priority is the safety of young people.” [ https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2018/03/14/kathleen-wynne-calls-doug-fords-comments-on-ontario-pot-sales-reckless.html ]

March 15, 2018: Doug Ford is interviewed by Alan Carter on the Global News program Focus Ontario.

Carter asks Ford: “You’ve suggested that you would like to see more free market in cannabis distribution. Could you explain that?”

Ford: “Yeah, I, I, I just wanna correct that, and if you play back the record on your sister station, on 640, um, what I, what I said is I think we start off with the liquor stores, and eventually I believe in the free market. So, uh, I just believe in, uh, the free market, and let the market dictate, but we have to be – I wanna emphasize this – we gotta be super, super, super careful. Uh, it’s a road that, uh, we haven’t went down before. We start off, y’know, in our controlled environment under the LCBO. And then, I, I would be open to, uh, putting it out, uh, again, I, I wanna see how it goes first.”

Carter: “I wanna play what the, uh, Premier said, in, in response to your suggestion of more private enterprise.”

Wynne: “…a lot of parents would have concerns about cannabis being available beside candy bars in, uh, in corner stores. You know, as a grandmother, I’d be uh, I’d be worried about that.”

Carter, to Ford: “Is that what you’re talking about?”.

Ford: “No, not, not at all. Um, I know, she’s playing politics, but that, that, that’s fair game. Uh, no, I wouldn’t be in favour of that, and that’s why I say let’s be super super cautious on this, and, uh, it’d be, it’d be concerning. If it was up to me, if it was up to me, I wouldn’t even have this legalized. But, that’s, the Prime Minister made it, uh, legal, and uh, er, going, going to be legal, and we have to deal with it. But I, I’d just, I’d be very cautious.”

Carter: “Are you saying cannabis, or even alcohol, in corner stores under a Ford administration?”.

Ford: “Oh, right now, the, the only issue I have with, uh, alcohol, is that they’ve picked certain retailers and they haven’t opened up the everyone. So, I, I don’t believe that’s fair to retailers, when you cherry pick certain groups and, and not others.”

Carter: “But cannabis in private stores? Would that happen under a Ford administration?”.

Ford: “Now, now, may, maybe down, down the road, down the road but right now I really, at the beginning, it has to be controlled. Let’s see the effects. Let’s just keep it as it is now in the liquor store and then I’d be open to it, if, if it’s alright, if everything goes smooth. If it doesn’t, then we’re keepin’ it in the liquor stores.” [(cannabis discussion commences at approximately 2 mins: 20 secs) ]

Now, for those who are still looking for a principled defense of free markets, and a consistent record of opposition to cannabis prohibition, fear not. Freedom Party of Ontario released its plank on cannabis sales on February 13, 2018. It promises to eliminate the Wynne cannabis plan, keep government out of cannabis sales, and leave prices and sales in the hands of a free and competitive market. Under that plan, government’s role is to keep cannabis out of the hands of minors, and to ensure that nobody’s life, liberty, or property is violated. You can read the plank here

Article source Paul McKeever