Toronto

Union head calls for marijuana sales through LCBO

Marijuana should be sold in LCBO stores if Ottawa goes ahead with plans to legalize the drug, according to the head of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

Liquor retailer already equipped for safe, responsible sales, says OPSEU's Smokey Thomas

The head of the union representing LCBO employees says Ontario liquor stores could easily handle sales of legalized marijuana. (Doug Ives/Canadian Press)

Marijuana should be sold in LCBO stores if Ottawa goes ahead with plans to legalize the drug, according to the head of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).

OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas says the Ontario liquor stores are already well equipped to handle marijuana sales responsibly and safely. 

"There would not be any need to reinvent the wheel," Thomas told CBC News. 

"For one thing they have the social responsibility part covered — they do age checks, they do refusals if somebody's intoxicated." 

Thomas also cited the liquor retailer's "very secure" warehouse and distribution system. 

OPSEU represents all non-management employees at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. He says adding marijuana to LCBO shelves would probably improve job security, but he doubts it would create extra jobs. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on the legalization and regulation of marijuana for recreational use, and has mandated Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott, along with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, to create a federal-provincial-territorial process to accomplish that.

​Philpott said the government will create a task force to consult with legal authorities, public safety officials and Health Canada scientists, who already have a role in regulating products with health risks such as tobacco.

During the election campaign, the Conservatives criticized the Liberal plan, telling voters it would lead to marijuana being sold in corner stores, where teenagers could get their hands on it easily.

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