Ontario wasted over $10 million on weed shops that didn't open
If you've ever wondered where provincial money goes, you probably won't be relieved to know that at least $10 million of it was spent on cannabis stores that never even opened.
According to the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation's financial statements, at least $1.2 million was spent on leases and lease terminations and another $8.9 million was spent on writing off equipment and renovation expenses.
I guess Doug Ford isn't such a great drug dealer after all, his government can't even sell legal weed properly.— David M. Kool 🍁 (@CallMeDaveOkay) September 17, 2019
I bet a bunch of his buddies sure profited from it though, let's follow the money and find out... pic.twitter.com/CRXbgp47pe
Before Doug Ford took over as premier in June 2018, Kathleen Wynne's Liberal government had planned to operate government-owned cannabis dispensaries.
Four of those planned shops had already been leased in Toronto, Guelph, Kingston and Thunder Bay, and renovations on the stores had commenced before the announcement of the province's shift to a private-sector system.
This means all the costs that had already been incurred basically went to waste, although some of the leftover equipment may still be sold.
"The costs to the OCRC related to transition between mandates included $8,694,289 for store fixtures required to stand up a full network of retail stores," spokesperson Daffyd Roderick wrote in an email to Global News.
"The OCS is looking at its options to recover value for these assets."
The OCRC now operates as a wholesaler and online retailer, and it was recently reported that they lost $42 million in the 2018-19 fiscal year.
Really wish Ontario Cannabis retail stores could maintain, and order more varied products so I could try some different products from time to time. Appears the @ONCannabisStore is having a really hard time playing middle man, and losing lots of 💰 doing it!🤦♂️— Alex Krause 🍁 (@krau5e_alex) September 17, 2019
But although legalization hasn't exactly been profitable in all regards for Ontario thus far, Jay Rosenthal, co-founder and president of Business of Cannabis, told the CBC as long as the province continues to open more stores, it's likely to get better.
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