TLTI to OK pot shops

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - FRONT PAGE - WAYNE LOWRIE

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]­

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