The Ontario government has launched a public consultation process to gauge feedback on how to provide the province’s cannabis consumers with greater choice.

It will consider permitting cannabis consumption lounges and allowing people to smoke weed at concerts and festivals, among other proposals. Anyone interested in participating in the consultation can submit their feedback online by visiting the Ontario Regulatory Registry.

Statistics Canada data shows that Ontario has the largest recreational cannabis market in the country, with $217 million in sales from October 2018 to September 2019. However, it had the second smallest sales per capita of all the provinces.

Per capita sales in Ontario during the first year after legalization stood at just $15, compared to $45 per capita in Alberta. Only Quebec saw lower per capita sales at $10.

The Ontario government wants to offer consumers more choice and help licensed operators compete against the black market more effectively. “We are asking Ontarians to share their feedback as we explore certain expanded cannabis-related business opportunities as part of our responsible approach to protecting families and communities, said Attorney General Doug Downey.

Government officials will also speak to businesses, health officials, industry bodies, public health and safety organizations, education providers, and Indigenous representatives to gain feedback on potential new cannabis opportunities, including consumption venues and special occasion permits for events such as outdoor festivals and concerts. Downey said that the findings will help shape the provinces’ future cannabis framework.

The province-owned Ontario Cannabis Store held a monopoly on online sales and wholesale to provinces during the first year post-legalization. It is now beginning to open up the market in an effort to combat the thriving illicit market.

Retailers are now be permitted to sell products online via a click-and-collect system, ending the OCS monopoly to a certain extent. Producers can also launch farm gate stores, while the number of retail cannabis dispensaries in Ontario should be ramped up in the months ahead.

OCS recently launched a same-day delivery service in an effort to put a dent in the province’s burgeoning black market. However, some social media users were quick to point out that black market dealers already offer same-day delivery and they do not charge for it, while it is tax-free.

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