Majority of respondents to Township survey support cannabis retailers operating locally

Nearly 60 per cent of respondents to a Township survey are in favour of council allowing recreational cannabis retailers to set up shop locally.

The municipality ran an online survey through the month of December to gauge public opinion on the issue, drawing 761 responses. The survey will be up for discussion on Monday (Jan. 7) night when members of council decide whether to allow storefront sales in the municipality.

“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.”

Of the 761 responses received, 456 indicated that recreational cannabis retailers should be allowed to operate in the township. A total of 230 (roughly 30 per cent) answered in opposition while 75 (10 per cent) had no response.

When the survey was discussed by members of council last month, Deputy Clerk Becky Jamieson noted that it was possible for an individual to submit more than one response.

The municipality also received roughly 19 pages of written responses from those that completed the survey.

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