Liquor Stores Lobby to Sell Legal Marijuana In Canada

By Bryan Le 08/21/17

While liquor stores have regulations and security, the idea of booze and pot being sold in the same place doesn't sit well with some.

A joint of marijuana and a grinder alongside a wine glass.
To be sold together on the high shelf?

As the marijuana legalization movement pushes forward in Canada, liquor stores in British Columbia are asking governments to consider allowing marijuana to be sold alongside spirits and booze.

The idea is a departure from the way marijuana is sold in legal marijuana states in the U.S., where dedicated shops do all the vending. However, it's not a novel concept—the mayor of Philadelphia and liquor store owners have pitched the same idea in the past. The benefits would include sharing the same regulatory agencies that govern the booze market.

“On the 'for' side, it’s a good money saver, and we have similar structures in place—things like Serving it Right, a responsible service program that workers have to go through to be a server or someone who sells liquor,” marijuana executive Clayton Chessa told High Times. “They also have the distribution networks and channels as well as safeguards and security in place to make sure controlled substances aren’t sold to minors.”

But Canada’s cannabis task force doesn’t think it’s such a bright idea. “The potential for increasing rates of use and co-use run counter to the public health objectives of harm reduction and prevention,” reads a Canadian government report.

Some researchers have also pointed out that using cannabis alongside alcohol can increase overall intoxication.

Another voice speaking out against the idea of selling pot alongside booze is the cannabis industry itself, feeling that the proposal is a cynical money grab from the liquor people. “I think it’s a ludicrous attempt by the powers that be to grab a hold of a market that they’ve actively lobbied against for years,” said Ashley Abraham, proprietor of the pot-friendly lounge The Green Ceiling.

“Why are these liquor store employees more capable of checking IDs than we are? I don’t see how sending cannabis users into a liquor store is considered compassionate access,” added Nicole Little, manager of Skunk & Panda Shatter Shack.

Of course, the liquor store owners of British Columbia stick to the argument that it is simply easier to allow them to get the job done. “You already have a distribution chain in place and a set of stores that have been background checked and authorized to sell a controlled substance,” said Jay Ryan, owner of Buffy’s Pub and Liquor Store.

“Having to reinvent the wheel just seems to be a waste of time and money. Of course, I’m a little biased on the subject.”

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter