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City staff advise against opting out of local retail cannabis sales

Cannabis vote slated for Monday night
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City Council will be asked Monday to approve a resolution advising that the Sault not opt out of retail cannabis sales.

The resolution is based on a recommendation from city staff.

Ontario municipalities have until Jan. 22 to advise the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) if they wish to opt out of having cannabis retail stores.

AGCO is also encouraging municipalities to provide formal notification if they decide to allow cannabis retail outlets.

Municipalities that vote to opt out are free to opt back in at any time.

Municipalities that decide to opt in will not be permitted to opt out at a later date.

Municipalities that have opted-in so far include:

  • Bruce Mines
  • Elliot Lake
  • Greater Sudbury
  • Hearst
  • Johnson Twp.
  • Marathon
  • North Bay
  • Plummer Additional
  • Prince Twp.
  • Spanish
  • North Shore
  • Tarbutt

SooToday is unaware of any municipalities in this area that have opted out.

If a municipality has not submitted written notification to AGCO by Jan. 22, then private cannabis stores will be allowed there by default starting Apr. 1.

A second cannabis resolution on the agenda for Monday's council meeting suggests altering the city's smoke-free bylaws.

Under the proposed changes, cannabis would be treated essentially the same as tobacco.

The first draft of the 2019 municipal budget is also expected to be presented Monday.

Councillors will be advised that the province is placing the Sault's Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund allocation under review.

In 2018, Sault Ste. Marie received $15.5 million from the fund.

Monday's City Council meeting will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.


David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans six decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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