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Will Doug Ford change how Ontarians buy legal marijuana?

Last Updated Jun 20, 2018 at 7:11 pm EDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday that marijuana will officially be legal in Canada on Oct. 17, following the passing of bill C-45 in the senate the previous day.

But exactly how marijuana will be sold in Ontario currently lends itself to more questions than answers.

The Liberals had set it up so that the province would have a complete monopoly on selling recreational pot with their own stores.

Now that Progressive Conservative Doug Ford is about to take the reigns, it seems he is leaving the door open to change. How dramatically he will change course, if he chooses to, is the key question.

Just after Ford won the PC leadership, he suggested he was open to the idea of a free market — the premier-designate is a proponent of less government control.

During CityNews’ election debate in May, Ford picked a fight with Kathleen Wynne over marijuana, but didn’t specifically mention how it should be sold.

“I’ll keep the kids safe and I won’t tolerate any impaired driving with anyone smoking marijuana,” he said at the time. “This is a path we’ve never gone down before, any of us. So I’m going to work closely with the police, I’m going to consult with the communities, make sure they understand what this is, where we are going.”

On Wednesday, CityNews asked Ford about his stance on how legal pot should be sold.

In an email, Ford spokesperson, Jeff Silverstein did not have a definitive answer.

“We are currently in the midst of a transition process, and we will have more to say once we form government,” he said.

CityNews also asked if it was even possible to change or reverse course before marijuana is legalized, but did not receive a response.

The Wynne government set up Ontario Cannabis Corp., an arm of the LCBO, to run provincial marijuana stores.

It announced the locations for the first four in April, including one on Gerrard Street East in Toronto. The designation of that particular site caused controversy, because it is just 450 metres from an elementary school.

The Liberal plan was to have approximately 150 stores open by 2020, as well as online sales with home delivery services once it is legal.

CityNews also reached out to the Ontario Cannibis Retail Corp. and asked several questions, including whether the incoming PC government could completely reverse direction and introduce a free market.

There was no response at the time of publishing.