Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie puts the brakes on retail cannabis

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Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie has decided more time would be needed before the city starts approving retail cannabis stores.

The Ford government announced a lottery for 50 new cannabis stores this month, and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said until Ontario permits municipalities more control over where the stores are located, the city won’t allow them.

Under current laws, municipalities can’t impose location restrictions for cannabis stores beyond what is already in provincial legislation.

That is something the mayor would like changed, also she would like to see cannabis retail outlets located farther away from schools than the current 150 metres and more power for municipalities to include setbacks for other sensitive locations, such as daycares, bus stops and shelters.

“We like to take our time, we like to do our homework,” she said. “And we’re not saying no forever, just not now.”

Mississauga Council said no to retail cannabis on Dec. 12, 2018, with a vote of 10-2. According to the Ontario’s alcohol, cannabis and gaming regulator, 337 municipalities in the province opted in to allow retail cannabis while under 80 opted out of retail cannabis.

Ward 2 councillor Karen Ras voted against the city’s motion to opt out and stands by the decision.

“We don’t regulate where LCBOs go,” she said. “Why would we say no and take that extra step to try to dictate where the cannabis stores would go, as long as they are within those setbacks related to schools and other sensitive use?”

That is a fair point and it is only a matter of time before public opinion changes and people get used to seeing cannabis retail stores the same way as they do the LCBO. -CINEWS

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