Oakville out of touch? Town still won't allow cannabis shops


Oakville Town Council voted to maintain its “opt-out” decision of allowing privately-operated retail cannabis stores in the municipality.

Council says it will review the decision again next year after staff receives more information about the industry and how municipalities that have opted-in are operating.

The federal government passed the Cannabis Act on Oct 17, 2018, legalizing recreational cannabis before the Ontario government launched its private retail model on April 1, 2019. The Province gave municipalities a one-time opportunity in Jan 2019 to opt-in or opt-out of having retail stores in their community. Municipalities who opted-out can opt back in at any time, but they may not reverse their decision.

In addition, the Ontario government is currently consulting with municipalities regarding the expansion of cannabis business opportunities, including the sale of cannabis for consumption in lounges and at special events.

We are still in an opt-out position but need additional time for staff to gather more details about the industry as well as the pros and cons of retail operations,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “We still have concerns with the Province not allowing municipalities to control the locations of cannabis stores through zoning rules. This is not a decision to be made in haste and it’s in our best interest to take a wait and watch approach.”

Had the Town of Oakville opted-in in 2019, it would have been eligible for payments under the Ontario Cannabis Legalization Implementation Fund (OCLIF), as well as the federal cannabis tax. That funding, however, is no longer available.

As of March 2020, 341 Ontario municipalities have opted-in; representing better than 82 per cent of the province.

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