Published: Fri, December 14, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

City council votes to allow cannabis stores in Sudbury

City council votes to allow cannabis stores in Sudbury

The provincial government is giving municipalities until January 22, 2019 to opt out of allowing private retailers within their boundaries.

Councillors in Mississauga and Markham voted Wednesday to opt out of hosting privately operated retail cannabis stores, which are expected to open across the province next spring.

"I don't want Mississauga to be a guinea pig", Damerla said.

The only legal way for Ontario residents to now acquire recreational weed is through a government-run website, the Ontario Cannabis Store, which has experienced its own shortages. If they opt out, he said, extra funding to cover the costs of regulating the shops disappears.

"I think we want to have an orderly regulation of cannabis sales in Toronto, and we want to have the financial assistance which I think we rightly deserve for the costs that are being incurred to regulate this".

The federal government legalized recreational cannabis on October 17.

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Before being ousted from power on election night, Kathleen Wynne's Liberals sought to roll out 150 Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) locations by 2020, with 40 to open in the first year.

"While today's vote on cannabis will see Toronto become a part of a regulatory regime and allow cannabis retail stores, I do not believe it provides adequate ability for the city of Toronto to protect people and neighbourhoods", the statement reads.

When it comes to marijuana, Toronto council says yes. The decision will allow applications to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to be processed sooner, providing more time for stores to set up their operations.

"The consultation we conducted over the last few months showed residents and local businesses are in support of having retail cannabis stores in our community", Mayor Brian Bigger said.

Councillor Gord Perks said the city - as the largest market in the country - should insist the province make changes to its legalization framework, arguing the Ford government got it "terribly wrong".

David Rider is the Star's City Hall bureau chief and a reporter covering Toronto politics.

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