Two Ontario municipalities will reject the provincial plan to deploy private adult-use cannabis shops across the province, according to a new report.
Canada is set to legalize the recreational use of cannabis on October 17, and provinces across the country have had to formalize their approach to the distribution and sale of the drug.
On August 13, Ontario’s newly elected Progressive Conservative government confirmed it will privatize the retail component of legal adult-use cannabis sales and begin offering these shops in April 2019.
This decision will open the doors to a vast network of stores from multiple competitors seeking to capitalize on the decriminalization of the drug. However, Ontario’s government has decided to offer a “one-time window” to municipalities on whether or not they will allow the incoming shops.
A spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Finance confirmed to the Investing News Network that the province will only offer municipalities a one-time chance to opt out of the overall strategy.
“This is currently being discussed with municipal leaders and officials at the meeting of AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s 2018 Annual Conference) taking place in Ottawa,” Scott Blodgett said.
Ontario municipalities want to back out of retail sales
“We’re not a willing host of recreation retail outlet,” Richmond Hill Mayor David Barrow told CTV News last week when asked for a reaction to Ontario’s final deliberation on recreational cannabis.
“We had a number of people attend our council meetings and say they weren’t interested in being a part of any of this process,” the mayor added.
Barrow said he doesn’t want to send the impression that consuming cannabis is “an acceptable thing to do.” The mayor encouraged residents of his municipality to drive into other communities to buy recreational product, but confirmed he doesn’t “want to have it available in Richmond Hill.”
The neighboring municipality of Markham will also opt out of the provincial approach to allow private cannabis shops in the spring of 2019 after the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada.
A statement from the Markham mayor’s office says that Mayor Frank Scarpitti “rejected” the idea of being one of the first locations for government stores under the previous administration, and will also dismiss the new provincial plan.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.