Does Oakville Need Pot Shops?
A decision to withdraw cannabis sales at retail stores in Oakville is to be reconsidered Monday night.
In 2019, city councilors decided to ban cannabis stores from setting up in the city. They upheld that decision in 2020 but asked staff to come back with a follow-up report in a year.
“This is not a decision to be made in haste and it is in our best interest to take a wait-and-see approach,” Mayor Rob Burton said in a city press release issued in 2020.
Although somewhat delayed due to the pandemic, the follow-up report will be considered at the board meeting on February 28.
After the federal government legalized recreational cannabis in 2018, Ontario established a private retail model.
Municipalities had a unique opportunity in 2019 to opt in or out of allowing cannabis stores in their communities. A decision to opt out can be reversed at any time, but once the choice has been made to allow stores, it cannot be reversed.
Although retail stores are not permitted in Oakville, online sales of recreational cannabis products are still available for same-day delivery from the province’s online retailer, the Ontario Cannabis Store.
According to the city staff report, about 85% of Ontario’s 414 municipalities have chosen to allow cannabis retail stores, including Burlington, Milton and Halton Hills.
Oakville, Mississauga and 64 other municipalities opted out of pot stores.
Burlington currently has 22 authorized stores, with six additional applications in progress. An additional 18 stores are in Milton and Halton Hills, with more planned.
Despite this, the province has received relatively few complaints related to cannabis stores in the area over the past two years.
Through ServiceOakville, the city has also received general cannabis-related complaints.
While city staff offered no recommendation on the decision, the report noted that “if cannabis retail stores were permitted in Oakville, the city would have no direct ability to regulate their location or enforce violations”.
[email protected] or by calling the city clerk at 905-815-6015.If you wish to give your opinion to the town hall on the subject, register as a delegate by sending an email
Rules for Cannabis Stores
- Retail stores are licensed and regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), which has the final say on their location.
- Shops should be at least 150 meters from schools.
- Proposed store locations are communicated to the municipality and local residents, who have a 15-day opportunity to indicate whether the location is in the public interest.
- Cannabis store employees must complete an approved training program.
- Under the city’s current zoning, cannabis stores would be permitted in any area where a retail store is permitted.
- Retailers who open without a provincial permit are subject to law enforcement. Provincial rules do not allow the city to regulate stores through zoning rules or licensing.