The Town of Midland has decided to opt-in and allow retail cannabis stores within the municipality’s boundaries.
At a council meeting Wednesday, councillors voted in favour of allowing the bricks-and-mortar shops within the town’s boundaries.
The province has given municipalities until Jan. 22 to opt-out of having retail cannabis storefronts within their jurisdiction. If a municipality does not notify the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) before the deadline, retail cannabis stores will be permitted within their boundaries by default.
And while the first 25 retail cannabis stores are scheduled to open across the province on April 1, there won’t be one in Midland. Currently, the town does not qualify for a retail store as the municipality falls short of the 50,000 population threshold.
“I feel the decision to opt-in was made easier by the fact we know Midland won’t be eligible for a cannabis retail store in the first round of licensing by the Province,” said Midland mayor, Stewart Strathearn, said in a release issued by the town on Thursday.
“At the same time, we need to recognize that cannabis is now a legal product in Canada and is becoming a new and emerging industry. This decision will allow Midland to leave the door open for that opportunity should the province extend the retail licensing to communities such as ours.”
The town has also decided to rely on new rules under the Smoke Free Ontario Act 2018 for regulating smoking in and around public facilities. The amendment to the act also includes cannabis.
“Although more restrictive rules on smoking cannabis were considered, we determined that Midland-specific rules would simply cause confusion between any rules that would be considered by the County of Simcoe Health Unit and/or provincial enforcement agencies,” Strathearn said in the release. “Relying solely upon the Smoke Free Ontario Act for purposes of enforcement, will eliminate any confusion, and avoid any potential additional costs related to enforcement.”
As of Thursday afternoon, the AGCO website did not reflect the town of Midland had opted-in.
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.