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A man lights a marijuana joint as he participates in the 4/20 protest on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, April 20, 2015. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
A man lights a marijuana joint as he participates in the 4/20 protest on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, April 20, 2015. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Politics Briefing

Weed in every liquor store? What could happen when Trudeau legalizes marijuana Add to ...

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By Adrian Morrow (@AdrianMorrow)

Since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed he will press ahead with marijuana legalization, liquor stores across the land have been queuing up to ask for a piece of the action.

First, it was British Columbia’s private liquor retailers teaming up with the union representing workers in the province’s public system to call for weed in both types of liquor outlet. Next, Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger signalled his‎ interest in getting the drug into government-run Liquor Marts in his fief.

Now, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has jumped into the fray. In response to a reporter’s question Monday, she ‎confirmed she would like the Crown-owned LCBO to be the province’s dealer of choice. Such a system, she said, would be socially responsible by keeping government control over the drug. To say nothing of the big bucks weed sales could net the province.

The LCBO – one of the largest and most profitable liquor retailers on the planet – would also bring significant heft to any marijuana-selling enterprise.

As you might imagine, the idea was cause for a lot of levity around Queen’s Park Monday – with most of the jokes variations on how the drug would mesh with the LCBO’s brand image. The retailer has, particularly in recent years, tried to cultivate something of a high-end image. Will clerks be trained to recommend different strains of weed for the discerning toker? How will in-store sampling work? Will the LCBO give pride of place to “artisanal” pot from Ontario, as it currently does for locally-produced beer and wine?

Even Tim Hudak, the former Tory leader who once mused about abolishing the LCBO, got in on the fun, tweeting that he was looking forward to the “glossy brochure” with recommended food pairings. He was probably joking, but it’s not far from the realm of possibility.


By Chris Hannay (@channay)

> The landmark final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission says it’s time for all the children who died at residential schools to be named and for their graves to be located.

> Immigration Minister John McCallum says Ottawa is “working very hard” to reach its goal of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year.

> Finance Minister Bill Morneau says there are no further plans to attempt to cool the hot housing market, despite Canadian household debt levels reaching record highs.

> The Liberal government must craft a new assisted-dying law next year, and a new report by a provincial-territorial advisory group says patients could administer lethal drugs themselves and religious institutions could opt out of providing the service, among other recommendations. (for subscribers)

> Auditors at the Canada Revenue Agency are alleging political and lobbyist interference in the tax system.

> And refugees get a welcome kit when they arrive in Canada, which includes parkas, snowsuits and a National Film Board DVD. Who’s supplying the items? The government can’t say, for security reasons.


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John Ibbitson (for subscribers) on Liberal economics.

Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail): “After the Copenhagen debacle of 2009, the mighty UN climate juggernaut desperately needed a victory. And here it is – an agreement that’s unenforceable and toothless, but makes everyone feel good.”

Lawrence Martin (Globe and Mail): “Some elections bring in governments with a major change of philosophy, some with a major change of style. But when have we ever seen both – at such a dizzying pace?”

Tasha Kheiriddin (iPolitics): “Will taxpayers fall for the promise of a shiny pony in the next budget, and beyond? Based on the Liberal track record in Ontario, it’s entirely possible.”

Chantal Hébert (Toronto Star): “Canada’s Syrian refugee resettlement operation is more than a laudable contribution to a global humanitarian crisis. It is also a well-executed political play.”

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