Mississauga and Markham say ‘no’ to retail cannabis stores

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On Wednesday, the City of Mississauga decided at its Council meeting that it will opt out and not allow privately-operated cannabis retail stores.

“Today, our Council made the decision to opt out as we feel that the recent changes to the retail cannabis model have occurred too quickly and there are too many unanswered questions at this time,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “The province has not given municipalities any control over where cannabis stores can be located in our City. This is cause for great concern. The City of Mississauga may decide to opt-in in the future however in the meantime; we will continue to consult and engage with our community. It’s important we take the time to get this right. I will be writing a letter to the province to explain our Council’s decision and will be asking for greater powers for municipalities to have input into the location and number of retail stores that are permitted in our city.”

Councillors in Markham also voted 12-1 against hosting cannabis stores in their city. Mayor Frank Scarpitti shared the news via social media.

According to media reports, if Mayor Drew Dilkens has his way, there will be no cannabis retail stores in Windsor either. “That would be my choice, to take a pause, to opt out and take a wait and see approach,” said Dilkens in a Windsor Star report.

The production, sale and use of recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada on October 17, 2018. Private cannabis stores will be legal starting April 1, 2019 for municipalities who choose to opt in. Ontario has elected to allow for recreational cannabis to be sold online or in privately-operated stores. The province will regulate sales through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).

The Government of Ontario gave municipalities until January 22, 2019 to decide whether they will opt in or opt out of having retail cannabis stores. Until then, residents can purchase cannabis online from the Ontario Cannabis Store. Residents must be 19 years or older to purchase cannabis in Ontario. To learn more about recreational cannabis in Mississauga, visit mississauga.ca/portal/residents/cannabis-information.

The province will continue to consult with municipalities including Mississauga, Peel Public Health and Peel Regional Police on the implementation of the private retail model. -CINEWS

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