WHITEHORSE - The Official Opposition is again calling on the Yukon Liberal government to rethink their plans to grow government through government-run distribution and retail of cannabis. Instead the government should allow Yukon’s private sector to immediately take the lead on retail and distribution following the legalization of cannabis.
In Question Period last week, the Yukon Liberals confirmed they are still intent on growing government by having the public sector enter into retail and distribution instead of leaving this entirely to local businesses. This is despite ever-changing plans and cost estimates with respect to setting up a government-run warehouse and retail store. Additionally, the Minister has been unable to give clear answers on how many people the government will hire for this new branch of government, or whether there are other additional costs beyond the $3 million line item identified in the budget.
Local businesses are ready to offer safe, private retail of cannabis immediately following legalization.
“Yukoners do not want to see their tax dollars spent on needlessly growing government,” said Brad Cathers, Official Opposition Finance Critic. “As we’ve said before, local businesses can deliver this service as safely and at a cheaper cost to taxpayers. Any government expansion into new areas such as cannabis sales is unlikely to remain temporary, so the responsible thing to do for Yukon taxpayers is to implement legalization in a way that allows private sector retail as soon as it’s legalized, instead of growing government.”
As the Legislation has just come forward for debate in the House, there is still time for the Liberals to amend the bill to allow the full transfer of responsibility for sale and distribution to the private sector. Further, government resources should instead be allocated towards the establishment of clear regulations for the private sector to ensure the safety of their products and the prevention of sale to minors, developing education initiatives that discourage drug use, and the strong enforcement of public health and safety rules.
“The Premier himself said that government should ‘get out of the business of doing business’, yet the Liberal government’s current cannabis retail plan does the exact opposite,” added Cathers.