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HomeNewsCouncil unanimously agrees to opt-in to allow retail cannabis storefronts

Council unanimously agrees to opt-in to allow retail cannabis storefronts

KAWARTHA LAKES-City of Kawartha Lakes Council unanimously agreed to opt-in to private recreational cannabis retail storefronts in Kawartha Lakes. Although one Councillor, Pat Dunn was not in attendance for the vote.

The City says Municipal staff has participated in numerous conversations with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and are satisfied that the AGCO licensing requirements, if diligently enforced, will be effective in ensuring private cannabis sales are rolled out in a manner that will minimize social harm. Staff has also been monitoring correspondence received from members of the public, business associations, agencies and organizations. The majority of responses received have been in favour of permitting private recreational cannabis stores in Kawartha Lakes.

“There is no upside to opting-out of cannabis retail storefronts in Kawartha Lakes,” said Mayor Andy Letham. “Opting-in will provide us with funding from the Province and will contribute to the economic growth of our community by creating new job opportunities.”

The first private recreational cannabis retail storefronts will open in Ontario on April 1, 2019. Retail cannabis stores and staff will be licensed, regulated and inspected by the ACGO.

The ACGO has developed a licensing process for private cannabis retailors to help ensure that private recreational cannabis retail storefronts operate in a manner that will encourage safe use of cannabis products and to prevent cannabis consumption by youth under the age of 19. Additional regulations for private recreational cannabis retail storefronts include:

  • Stores must be 150 meters from any private or public elementary or secondary school;
  • Stores must be stand alone, meaning they standalone; that cannot be a part of a store or added to stores that sell other products, including pharmacies and stores selling alcohol;
  • Persons must be 19 years of age or older to enter the stores;
  • Stores are only permitted to sell legally sourced cannabis and cannabis accessories;
  • Stores are only permitted to operate between 9am and 11pm; and
  • Cannabis, cannabis packaging, or cannabis accessories must not be displayed in a way that may be seen by a young person.

By opting in, the municipality will receive a minimum of $10,000 in provincial funding to offset the costs of enforcement and other effects of legalization. In addition, if Ontario’s portion of the federal excise duty on recreational cannabis over the first two years of legalization exceeds $100 million, the Province would provide 50% of the surplus to municipalities that have opted-in. Once opted-in, a municipality would not be able to opt-out at a later date.

The Province has advised that there will be $40 million available in funding for municipalities over a two-year period to help with implementation costs. In early January of 2019, the first payment of $15 million of the total funding will be distributed to municipalities regardless if they opt-in or not. This amounts to approximately $100,000 for Kawartha Lakes. A second payment is expected to be made in late 2019 to municipalities that opt-in. In addition, there is also a $10 million fund that has been set aside by the province to address unforeseen circumstances related to implementation. Priority for this funding is given to municipalities that have opted-in.

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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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