Canadian grocery store giant Loblaws is pushing the Government of Ontario to change cannabis legislation so it can dominate another industry.
According to internal documents obtained by Global News through a Freedom of Information request, since 2019 Loblaws has had numerous meetings with government officials, including the Attorney General’s office, to request changes around how the cannabis retail market works in Ontario.
Currently, regulations from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario state that, “There must be separation between your cannabis business and other businesses. The retail space where you will sell cannabis must be enclosed by walls separating it from any other commercial establishment or activity.” But Loblaws wants to change that.
The primary changes they have requested include:
- Repeal restrictions on cannabis sales at establishments that also sell food and snacks
- Allow store-within-a-store models similar to how some wine stores have locations within Loblaws grocery stores
- Repeal a ban on online retailers from selling cannabis goods
- Change rules to allow medical cannabis dispensaries to also sell recreational cannabis
Loblaws currently operates two medical dispensaries under the company’s C-Shop brand, with one in Embrun, Ontario and another in North Bay, Ontario.
Increased Store Cap
Ontario recently increased the number of stores that licensed cannabis retailers can operate from 75 to 150. The province currently has 1,780 stores authorized to open.
This regulatory change was met with mixed reviews from industry, with some feeling the change will benefit large retail chains and drive more consolidation in the market.