With the legalization of cannabis earlier this year, we are faced with addressing new policies on how to incorporate this Nation-wide change into our own municipalities. One such decision that will be faced by Douro Dummer Township in the next month is whether or not we will ‘opt-out’ of allowing private retail stores operate within our municipality. This is a decision that all Ontario municipalities must make by January 22, 2019. These privately owned retail stores are anticipated to be operational by April 1, 2019. A number of municipalities have already addressed this. The list of Ontario municipalities prohibiting or allowing cannabis retail stores is available on the AGCO website.

Here are some key pieces of information that you will want to know:

  • The Cannabis License Act, 2018, S.O. 2018, c.12, Sched. 2 stipulates that a municipality has no power to license and regulate cannabis retail stores
  • Municipalities also cannot pass a by-law providing for a system of licenses respecting the sale of cannabis, or cannabis retail stores
  • By-laws cannot be passed to regulate these cannabis retail stores, including zoning regulations
  • As well, municipalities cannot pass by-laws under the Planning Act to distinguish between use of land for the sale of cannabis
  • Municipalities have a one-time opportunity to opt-out of having stores within its boundaries
  • A municipality may later opt-in but opting in cannot be reversed
  • A cannabis retail store is authorized to be open to the public between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on any day
  • The retail space where cannabis is sold must be enclosed by walls separating it from any other commercial establishment or activity and from any outdoor area
  • A retail store may only sell three things:
    • Cannabis that was purchased by the holder directly from the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation
    • Cannabis accessories
    • Shopping bags
  • A proposed cannabis retail store may not be located closer than 150 metres from a school or a private school (elementary or secondary)
  • Initially, only 25 private facilities will open
  • All municipalities will get some funding to address the associated costs of having cannabis but municipalities that opt-out will get a minimal amount. At this time, it is unknown how much municipalities that opt-in will receive

How do you feel about having a privately owned cannabis retail store in Douro Dummer Township? On January 15 2019, Peterborough Public Health will be making a presentation to Council at 4:30 p.m. The public is welcome to attend this meeting.

Contact me with your thoughts.