Town opts in for cannabis retail locations

Dec 19, 2018 | Planning | General

The Town of Orangeville will be open for business when it comes to cannabis retail stores.

The newly-elected Orangeville Council unanimously passed staff’s recommendation to be a willing host to retail cannabis locations within its jurisdiction.

Under the Cannabis Licence Act, municipalities have a one-time opportunity to “opt-out” of hosting cannabis retail stores within their boundaries. This decision to opt-out must be passed by Council resolution no later than January 22, 2019. The “opt-out” option only applies to storefront retail cannabis sales, not online purchases, possession or consumption.

There has been some interest from individuals exploring opportunities to establish cannabis retail store locations in Orangeville.

Under the new legislation, storefront retail cannabis locations must be approved by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). Applicants must post a notice at the proposed location of the retail store within 24 hours of submission of the application to the AGCO. Applications to the AGCO will be rigorously scrutinized, with a 15-day comment period provided for both the municipality and its residents, beginning when the notice is posted at the proposed site. Cannabis retail locations will not be permitted within 150 metres of a public or private school.

The federal and provincial legal framework for recreational cannabis were developed to keep cannabis away from youth, keep cannabis proceeds away from criminal enterprise, and to protect public health by allowing adults safe access to legal cannabis. The same rules that apply to tobacco consumption also apply to recreational cannabis. It is illegal to consume cannabis in enclosed workplaces, restaurants, bars and patios, schools, near playgrounds and publicly-owned sports facilities and within any other enclosed public place. Possession and use is restricted to those 19 years of age and older.

The provincial government has committed to provide $40 million over two years to municipal governments to subsidize municipal costs such as policing, bylaw enforcement, public health and other services. This funding will be prioritized to “opt-in” municipalities.

The decision to legalize cannabis and regulate cannabis sales was outside of municipal jurisdiction.  Since a greater funding opportunity is available to “opt-in” municipalities and because opting-out only applies to storefront cannabis sales, not online sales or consumption, Orangeville Council supported permitting cannabis retail store locations.

Council directed staff to report back prior to April 1, 2019 with recommendations regarding the Town’s input to the AGCO on prospective retail stores in the Town.