Ontarians Back Weed Lounges, Private Retail  

A Nanos Research poll shows most Ontarians want legal weed sold in private retail stores instead of at government operations like the LCBO.

As heard on AM800's The Afternoon News, the recent polling shows 55% of those surveyed supported private retail.

The poll also found 48% support for licensed and regulated lounges where people could consume cannabis. About 46% were against the lounges.

David Clement with the Consumer Choice Centre says the attitudes towards the idea of marijuana lounges caught him off guard.

"Openness to lounges was surprising just because there's a strong kind of anti-indoor smoking bias, but I think people realize you actually take people from smoking on the streets to smoking in these closed settings where they're not bothering other people," says Clement.

As for the response to retail outlets for recreational pot, Clement wasn't so surprised.

"The answer to the private retailer question was not so surprising because people are becoming increasingly irritated with the LCBO and how alcohol is sold, so I think a lot of people see the problems with that system and we don't want to replicate that," says Clement.

He adds private retail may actually better achieve the government's goals.

"You look at somewhere like Colorado where you have private sale and it's not kind of monopolized by the government — you actually have a system that does a lot better job of curbing the black market," says Clement.

The margin of error in the poll is plus-or-minus 5.7% 19 times out of 20.

The federal government is targeting July 1, 2018 as the date to legalize recreational marijuana.