Municipal cannabis survey has already received more than 700 responses

Township council will have no shortage of input when they consider the possibility of recreational cannabis retailers opening up shop in Brock.

The municipality launched a survey to gauge public opinion earlier this month and more than 700 responses have been received thus far, according to Deputy Clerk Becky Jamieson. However, as it is possible to complete the survey more than once, it’s unclear how many different people have taken part.

The matter will be addressed by council early in the new year.

“Recreational cannabis was legalized on Oct. 17, 2018 by the Federal Government and it is now legal to purchase and use cannabis for recreational purposes across Canada.  In Ontario, currently the only way to legally purchase recreational cannabis is online through the Ontario Cannabis Store, but beginning in April 2019 it will be available for purchase through private recreational cannabis retail stores,” a background note on the survey reads.

“The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will be the provincial regulator authorized to licence private recreational cannabis retail stores. The Ontario Cannabis Store will be exclusive wholesaler to these retailers. The province is providing municipalities a one-time opportunity to opt-out of having private recreational cannabis retail stores within their municipal boundaries by Jan. 22, 2019. A decision to opt-in cannot be reversed while a decision to opt-out may be reversed in the future.”

Retail operations will be licensed and regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

Last week, the provincial government cited a national cannabis shortage in announcing that only 25 licenses would be issued in April.

“I think the Province is still trying to figure out how to deal with this,” Jamieson told members of council.

Only those aged 19 and older will be able to enter the stores, which will have operating hours between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. each day. They must be at least 150 metres away from schools.

Residents are asked to complete the Township survey by Dec. 31.

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