Town of Whitby gives plenty of reasons for opting out of cannabis retail

The Town of Whitby has opted-out of hosting private retail cannabis stores. More than 2,600 residents and people who work in Whitby provided feedback to help make the decision. The following issues were cited in the announcement.

Despite the current phased approach to issuing licences, there is no local control over the possible number of future storefronts. There was also concern over the fact that private retailers will be permitted to sell recreational cannabis, as opposed to having government-operated establishments such as the LCBO.

The current proposed level of provincial funding was not considered a fair revenue split for municipalities to address cannabis legalization and there is no funding currently dedicated beyond the next two years.

Provincial regulations set no minimum distance between cannabis retail stores and some potentially sensitive locations, such as daycares and post-secondary institutions. It is also the responsibility of the town to search for store applications, as the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will not provide direct notification. Municipalities only have 15 days to comment on proposed locations and comments are limited to certain topics and not binding.

Lastly, private retail recreational cannabis stores will be permitted to open between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. There is no local control over hours of operation.

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