Brampton’s City Council will decide on Monday (Jan 21) whether to opt in or out of allowing retail cannabis stores to operate within the city. A special council meeting will take place at 7pm on Monday at City Hall to discuss. See Meeting Agenda.
Cannabis was legalized in Canada on October 17, 2018 by the federal Liberal government. The Province of Ontario is responsible for the distribution of cannabis. Ontarians can currently purchased cannabis online at the Ontario Cannabis Store and have it delivered by Canada Post. If you are thinking about growing your own plants at home, you should probably wait until legislation is finalized and courts have had their say.
Municipalities have until January 22nd to indicate to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) if they will participate in the first phase of cannabis availability in retail stores. “If the AGCO has not received written notification from a municipality by January 22, 2019, then, by default, private cannabis retail stores will be allowed within that jurisdiction beginning April 1, 2019.
The city has made multiple efforts to engage residents for feedback, including a townhall that was live streamed on Facebook, and a tele-townhall with over 8,000 residents. The feedback and debate has been “lively”.
City Councillor Charmaine Williams who represents Ward 7/8 residents has been the only council member to actively voice her opinion against allowing retails cannabis stores. She recently suggested that Brampton should work with other municipalities to “build a political wall” of solidarity to force the provincial government to give municipalities a better deal in having more control and policing resources. Her idea to invoke the “wall” metaphor was rebuked by Ward 1/5 Councillor Rowena Santos.
At the last Committee of Council meeting on Thursday (Jan 17), council directed Mayor Patrick Brown to issue letters to all of Brampton’s MPP’s and MP’s. The letter requested their “written comments no later than 5 pm Friday, January 18th on whether you believe City Council should or should not allow retail cannabis shops to operate in Brampton.” The letter indicated that a non-response would be assumed to be taking a position as in favour of allowing retail cannabis stores in the city.
Cities who opt-out now can opt back in at a later date. Locally, Mississauga has opted out, and Toronto has opted-in. Check the complete list on the AGCO website.