Ontario NDP leader calls for vaccine passporting at pot shops

Nick Laba | Mugglehead Media

After the policy’s apparent success in Quebec, Ontario’s NDP leadership wants to mandate vaccine passports at businesses like cannabis and liquor stores to curb Covid-19 infections.

Following Premier Doug Ford’s announcement Thursday of a three-step re-opening plan, provincial NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said proof of vaccination should be required for non-essential businesses.

“Particularly making sure that places that are perhaps frequented now by folks that refuse to be vaccinated are actually put on the list of places that require certificates,” she said in a press briefing.

“So, non-essential businesses — places like LCBOs, places like pot shops (cannabis retail stores) — those places should require certificates as well.”

Ford doesn’t want to do it because he doesn’t want to tick off anti-vaxxers, Horwath claims, saying that measures like extending vaccine certificates could bump up the ability for the province to stay open.

But Jennawae McLean, co-owner of Calyx + Trichomes Cannabis stores, questions what logic this move is based on.

“Cannabis stores are not the source of Covid outbreaks,” she says.

Pot shops are already following public health protocols, with most stores McLean is aware of voluntarily requiring staff to be fully vaccinated, including her own.

“If the motivation is to get more people vaccinated, I don’t appreciate cannabis stores and cannabis access being a political prop. This is just another way to drive unregulated sales.”

In Horwath’s speech, she also called for Covid testing to be “restored,” and for the government to mandate 10 days of paid sick leave or family care time.

After the Quebec government announced vaccination would be required at alcohol and cannabis stores, citizens getting their first jab skyrocketed 300 per cent the following day.

Ontario’s re-opening plan, which kicks off Jan. 31, includes reopening sporting events, concert venues, theatres to 50-per-cent capacity or 500 people. Restaurants, bars and gyms can operate at 50-per-cent capacity as well.

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