Council approved a motion to allow provincially licensed cannabis retail stores in New Tecumseth, subject to federal and provincial regulations. However, council agrees that any cannabis retail store would be at least 300 metres away from area schools, rather than the province’s 150-metre requirement.
Beeton’s councillor Stephanie MacLellan was one of the many councillors who supported the motion.
“I believe council made a tough but good decision Monday night. Marijuana is now 100 per cent legal and should be available (just like cigarettes and alcohol) to residents in town if they so chose. Due to the size of our municipality and availability of the product I do not believe we will see a store here in 2019 therefore giving council plenty of time to put extra bylaws in place if necessary to make sure everyone is comfortable with the selling and using of marijuana in our town. Moving forward council will be keeping a very close eye on the first 25 retail locations and how they are functioning to make sure we do this properly and in the best interests of New Tecumseth residents,” said MacLellan.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is the provincial regulator authorized to grant store licences. The AGCO will be responsible for operational licensing and determining where stores may be located.
All municipalities in Ontario were asked by the Province to make a decision by January 22, 2019 to opt in or out of allowing private cannabis retail stores. For opting in to retail stores, New Tecumseth would be entitled to a greater level of funding than those municipalities that opt-out. The Province of Ontario is providing $40 million over two years to help municipalities with costs surrounding cannabis legalization.
Cannabis stores will be opening in phases across Ontario. An initial phase of 25 retail store authorizations were recently issued for the entire province, to allow operators to open for business April 1, 2019. The AGCO implemented a lottery system to determine who was eligible for the initial cannabis retail store licenses. The results of the lottery are posted on the AGCO website.
The AGCO will provide municipalities and the public with a 15-day notification period of a proposed store site to receive public input. The public notification of a proposed cannabis retail store will be posted on the building and on the AGCO’s website.