SAQ workers examining whether they should sell marijuana
The union of SAQ workers is studying whether or not they should be the ones selling marijuana when the federal government legalizes weed.
In the throne speech, the Liberal government promised to legalize, regulate, and restrict marijuana.
Workers at the SAQ believe that, as a provincially-regulated monopoly, the SAQ is in a unique position to handle the sales of marijuana.
"It's a particular product, it's not like selling food or anything like that," said Marc-André McSween of the SAQ's union. "For the government to keep control of selling marijuana for us it can be a good thing for the whole society."
He added the union is asking the independent research group IRIS to look into whether the SAQ could handle quality control, verifying a customer's age, and other restrictions.
The study is expected to take several months, and be presented to the approximately 5,500 unionized employees next summer, followed by a vote on whether or not to recommend its plan next autumn.
Adam Greenblatt, owner of Santé Cannabis, a medical marijuana clinic, says the notion of selling marijuana in the same place as alcohol is a public health concern.
“I don't think cannabis belongs in liquor stores. I thing cannabis belongs in pharmacies, in dispensaries, and in age restricted coffee shops. I have concerns about cannabis sold alongside alcohol in a liquor store,” he said.
Similar proposals have been made in British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario.
In Washington and Colorado, sales of marijuana are handled by private companies that have been granted a government licence, and alcohol vendors are prohibited from selling marijuana.
This is a union initiative, and to date the SAQ has no plans to sell marijuana.