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HomeNewsStaff recommends City opt-in to retail cannabis stores

Staff recommends City opt-in to retail cannabis stores

KAWARTHA LAKES-A staff report going to council next week will recommend the City opt-in to allow Private Recreational Cannabis Retail Storefronts to operate in the municipality.

“Staff has participated in numerous conversations with the AGCO and are satisfied that the AGCO licensing requirements, if diligently enforced, will be effective in ensuring private cannabis sales are done in a manner that will minimise social harm.” says the report prepared by Senior Licensing Officer Alix Scarr. Municipalities must provide notice of Councils decision to opt-in or opt-out of private recreational cannabis retail storefronts in their municipalities to the ACGO by January 22, 2019.

The report goes on to say staff has also been monitoring correspondence received from members of the public, business associations, as well as other agencies and organizations. The majority of responses have been in favour of permitting private recreational cannabis stores in the City.

The first 25 Private Recreational Cannabis Retail Storefronts in Ontario are expected to open on April 1, 2019. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has developed and will enforce a comprehensive licensing and regulation program for the private sale of recreational cannabis.

The staff report says prohibiting private recreational cannabis retail storefronts in the City “will restrict resident’s access to legal, recreational cannabis in the City which may have the unintended consequence of supporting the illegal market.” They say opting out will only serve to restrict purchasing options for consumers of legal recreational cannabis, not eliminate its presence in the City.

The Province has announced that it will provide $40 million over two years to municipalities across Ontario to offset costs incurred by cannabis legalization with the first payment of $15 million to all municipalities in 2019. $100,000 has been allocated for CKL.

The Lindsay and District Chamber of Commerce sent the City a letter supporting the option to opt-in. “Opting-ln would mean jobs for retailers, rent for landlords, and encourage customers to “shop local”. Well- placed retail locations could service tourists and cottagers that buy their alcohol and food here. ln more urban centers like Lindsay, Fenelon and Bobcaygeon we would have the opportunity to make sure the retail locations fit within the historical designation guidelines for storefronts complimenting the rest of our commercial businesses.” said Bob Armstrong, President of the Board.

Lindbrook Developments sent a letter saying they had a major cannabis retailer ready to open up in one of their locations if the City allowed broader zoning. The City has stated there will be no specific zoning created for cannabis stores and that they will be permitted “where retail stores are permitted”. “We strongly urge Planning Staff and Council permit cannabis stores to operate in all properties containing all the sub sets of retail as set out in the existing Lindsay zoning by-laws.” said Wally Caistko, Lindbrook Developments.

Council will make the final decision on January 15th.

photo credit: verchmarco Medizinisches Marijuana mit dem Wort WEED via photopin (license)</a 

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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