Cannabis: Ontario Chamber of Commerce Calls for Softer Legislation
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce believes that cannabis distributors face too many barriers that impede their growth.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is urging the provincial government to soften laws surrounding the cannabis industry, as it believes traders face barriers that are hurting their profitability and growth .
The organization is calling on the province, among other things, to allow consumers to smoke legally in certain indoor spaces, and to adopt measures to prevent cannabis sellers from opening stores on next to each other.
David Soberman, Professor of Marketing at the University of Toronto is not surprised by these recommendations from the Chamber of Commerce for whom the approach is rather normal, since it is [his] job and [his] objective to x27;help businesses that are engaged in all areas of the Ontario economy.
The same goes for Michael Armstrong, associate professor at Brock University's Goodman School of Business, for whom these recommendations would clearly benefit the cannabis industry. It offers new opportunities for consumers […] and if they smoke more they buy more, so it's good for both producers and distributors.
Mr. Armstrong, however, questions the merits of relaxing cannabis use rules because of public policy and government objectives.
The federal government wants the market cannabis is attractive enough for smokers to move from the illegal market to the legal market, but he does not want to make the market too attractive to prevent non-smokers from taking up smoking.
The professor also raises several challenges related to the consumption of cannabis in public places. In particular, he mentions impaired driving, because if consumers move to dedicated places to smoke, it means that they must then return home, and this represents a danger, he underlines.
Michael Armstrong adds that Canadian society has been trying to reduce tobacco consumption for decades and has already banned smoking in bars.
“If we can now smoke cannabis [in bars], then why not tobacco?
— Michael Armstrong, Associate Professor, Brock University Goodman School of Business
Armstrong notes, however, that if you're not allowed to smoke cannabis in your apartment, then you don't have a place to legally smoke it indoors. According to him, dedicated spaces would therefore allow consumers to smoke in an enclosed space in a legal manner rather than doing so in violation of the law.
It's a view shared by Ryu Singh, an employee of the Friendly Stranger store in downtown Toronto, who advocates for the legal use of cannabis in places like bars and cafes. According to him, this is to provide consumers with a safe place to avoid smoking outside.
Ryu Singh wonders why this is not allowed in Canada, while the practice is permitted in other places like Amsterdam, he says.
David Soberman wonders for his part if the recommendations will be accepted by the government, because it is necessary to take into account the people who surround smokers and who will inhale the smoke. This is the reason why smoking has been banned indoors and even outdoors near the doors of public buildings, he recalls.
“We must legislate with the interest of society in general in mind.
— David Soberman, Professor of Marketing at the University of Toronto
According to Mr. Soberman, laws should not serve a particular industry. When the government commits to making laws like that, it's not a good idea, he believes.
The province ensures that no changes related to cannabis consumption are planned for the moment.
In an email sent to Radio-Canada, a government spokesperson assures that the priorities are instead to fight the illegal market, while keeping cannabis out of the reach of young people, and keeping our communities safe.
With information from Yanick Lepage