Ontario drops weed from essentials list

Officials call for further intervention

Cannabis plants at a licensed indoor production facility in Winnipeg. (Dave Bedard photo)
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Reuters — Ontario’s government on Friday removed cannabis from a list of essential businesses allowed to operate during the lockdown, as part of its efforts to further restrict contact amid a deepening coronavirus crisis.

The move comes after health officials projected 80,000 COVID-19 coronavirus cases and about 1,600 deaths by month end under current policies, but added the number of deaths could be limited to 200 with “full future intervention.”

Ontario, Canada’s most heavily populated region, has reported 3,255 confirmed cases and 67 deaths.

Cannabis is still a part of the essential services lists in Quebec and British Columbia in Canada, and in several states in the U.S.

Besides toilet paper and groceries, people have also rushed to hoard cannabis and alcohol as they prepare for long periods locked inside their houses.

U.S.-listed shares of Canadian pot producers fell in Friday’s session, with Tilray and Hexo Corp sliding more than eight per cent.

— Reporting for Reuters by Shariq Khan in Bangalore.

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