After opting out Mississauga council wants in on retail pot

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A year after voicing strong opposition to the idea of hosting cannabis stores in the city, Mississauga council has reason to believe it is time to reconsider the idea.

What gives? Well, apparently, Mayor Bonnie Crombie was simply unaware of the flourishing illegal drug market in the city. In fact, the mayor admitted being “very startled” by the amount of unauthorized cannabis businesses in the city.

As of November 10, websites listing dispensaries in Mississauga had between four and 10 recreational cannabis retail and delivery businesses in the city’s boundaries.

Since opting out, Mississauga has largely foregone payments from Ontario’s Cannabis Legalization Implementation Fund, which aims to help municipalities deal with the costs of legalization.

Brampton opted in to retail cannabis and, since February and has received $381,365 from the fund. Caledon and Mississauga have each received $5,000 over the same period.

One of the prime and legitimate reasons why the city opted out of the cannabis racket, as some critics call it were concerns over proliferation of stores and their locations near daycares, led the city to vote not to allow retail cannabis shops Dec. 12, 2018. Councillors Sue McFadden and Karen Ras voted in favour of allowing the stores.

Following this, the mayor then sent a letter to Premier Doug Ford outlining the city’s concerns hoping for more power to determine store locations.

“This is a council that does their homework,” she said. “We’re very thoughtful and we had some legitimate concerns with respect to the proliferation of these stores and the locations.”

Mississauga was one of 76 municipalities in Ontario that opted out of retail cannabis before the January 22, 2019, deadline.
However, this flip-flop on the cannabis stores issue is sure to upset a large section of residents in the city who were happy to be spared having to deal with cannabis stores in their neighborhoods. -CINEWS

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