TLTI to OK pot shops
The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands will allow the retail sale of pot in the municipality, council decided this week.
In a unanimous vote, council members decided to opt into the provincial government’s policy that allows private cannabis stores in Ontario municipalities.
Council’s decision, which it will formally ratify on Monday, allows it to receive about $10,000 in grants from the province to offset policing and other costs from the sale of pot.
Under the province’s rules, new municipal councils were given until Jan. 22 to decide whether or not to allow the sale of legal pot.
If they refused, the municipalities would be denied some of the provincial government funding.
The province’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission will have the power to approve and licence the legal pot shops, which would be allowed to open as of April 1, 2019.
Although the federal government legalized the sale of cannabis in October, only online sales have been allowed in Ontario while the Ford government implements its retail policy.
Greg Borduas, chief administrative officer, said the government has offered only a narrow window for municipalities to opt out of having cannabis retailers on their territory.
If a municipality opts out, it would be omitted from the government’s list of municipalities that are open to retail sales, nor would it receive some of the government grants, he said.
Marnie Venditti, the township’s new director of planning and development, said the township could have the option of opting back into the program in the future, although it would forfeit some of the grants.
Coun. Brian Mabee said he supports cannabis retail in the township because it’s now a legal product and the township should be part of the process. He suggested the TLTI opt into the sales and later fine tune its municipal policy.
Coun. Terry Fodey said the council would be doing a disservice to its taxpayers if it opted out of cannabis sales and lost its share of the grant money from the province.
Resident Kurt Lie be, who recently ran for mayor of the township, asked whether the TLTI planned to consult the public before making its pot decision.
Mayor Corinna Smith-Gatcke said the province’s tight timeline for municipalities to decide on retail sales makes a public consultation difficult, particularly during the holiday season. As well, the township notified residents that it would be up for discussion at this week’s meeting, said SmithGatcke, adding that cannabis sales were an issue during the recent election campaign where it got a lot of discussion. [email protected]media.com