MARIJUANA STORES WELCOME IN RUSSELL TOWNSHIP
Marijuana stores will be welcome in Russell Township.
Russell Township council approved, in a 3-2 split-decision registered vote December 17, to opt in to the provincial government’s new policy for allowing marijuana sales outlets to set up shop in Ontario municipalities. Councillors Jamie Laurin and Cindy Saucier voted against the opt-in resolution, expressing concern over the lack of municipal control or input allowed under the provincial government’s cannabis retail policy, especially where it concerns approval of locations for marijuana retail stores.
in front of that store on their way to school and back,” said Councillor Laurin, regarding possible weaknesses in the policy’s guidelines barring marijuana stores from setting up near schools.
Laurin proposed that the provincial policy on cannabis retail outlets should mirror the policy already in place for liquor and beer store outlets in the province, to avoid locations either near schools or near known school bus routes. Both he and Saucier expressed concern that the province might ignore municipal input on suitable locations for any approved marijuana retail outlets that set up in the township.
At present, the chance of a marijuana store setting up shop in Russell Township will depend on the luck of the lottery. The provincial government announced that it would allow just 25 approved cannabis retail outlets in Ontario next year, because of the current shortage of supply for recreational marijuana in Canada.
The province has divided the province into five regions and allocated five retail licences for each region with all licences subject to a lottery draw for approval. Speculation among township council during the Monday public session is that the City of Ottawa could end up with all five of the retail location licences
The provincial policy guarantees that every Ontario municipality will get about $5000 to help them with some of the preparation needed for updating bylaws, training any staff, and other expenses that will result when recreational marijuana sales move from the online access only setup now, through the provincial government, to public sales outlets next year. The amount of recreational marijuana sales is expected to increase, though both retail outlets and users must still follow provincial and federal regulations dealing with marijuana sales and smoking.
A municipality that opts out, and thus will not allow retail marijuana outlets within its bounds, will receive another $5000 payment from the province to help with initial costs to prepare for the increased availability and use of recreational marijuana within its area. Those that opt in may get a share in future provincial marijuana sales tax revenue.
This incentive under the provincial cannabis retail policy depends on how much the government collects in marijuana sales tax over the next two years. If the total amount of sales tax collected is more than $100 million at the end of 2020, then the province will share half of the surplus amount among those municipalities which opted in. If the provincial tax revenue from marijuana sales is less than $100 million, no matter how small the difference, then there is no surplus for the province to share.
Casselman and The Nation Municipality
The Village of Casselman will be voting on the same topic on January 10 while The over the next few weeks via social media. A report will be represented to council in early January.
Les magasins de vente au détail de marijuana pourront s’établir dans la municipalité de Russell. Le conseil a choisi, dans le cadre d’un vote par division le 17 décembre, d’adhérer à la proposition de politique du gouvernement provincial visant à permettre aux magasins de marijuana de fonctionner dans les municipalités, en plus du système de vente et d’approvisionnement en ligne existant du gouvernement. Les conseillères Jamie Laurin et Cindy Saucier ont voté contre la résolution, se disant préoccupées par le manque de participation et de contrôle des municipalités sur la question des points de vente au détail locaux.