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Two special council meetings called to discuss retail cannabis

Two special council meetings have been called to discuss whether Prince Edward County will opt in, or out, of allowing retail cannabis sales.

Mayor Steve Ferguson has called the meetings to consider a staff report and recommendations.

A special Committee of the Whole meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Prince Edward Community Centre, Rotary Hall, 375 Picton Main Street, Picton.

A special Council meeting has been called for Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. at Shire Hall, 332 Picton Main Street, Picton to consider the Committee of the Whole report and ratify council’s position.

Cannabis currently can only be bought legally online and Ontario municipalities have until Jan 22 to decide if they will allow private stores to open next spring. Under the provincial government rules, municipalities that opt out can change their minds later, but if they sign on, they can’t back out later.

The province has pledged $40 million over two years in funding to help municipalities with related costs. Each could initially receive at least $10,000, and the second payment going only to those that opt in.

However, the provincial government also recently announced it will only issue 25 retail licences by April, in a lottery system. The restriction, some believe, would allow illegal pot sellers to thrive. The government states it is capping licences in response to a national cannabis supply shortage and would transition to an open system as soon as supply permits.

The AGCO will be responsible for approving or denying site applications for retail cannabis stores.

Quinte West is conducting an online survey and will defer its decision to its council meeting Jan. 21. Belleville will also do an online poll with hopes for responses by its Jan. 14th meeting.

An online survey, and a third-party telephone survey have been ongoing in Prince Edward County.

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  1. Gary Mooney says:

    Theresa, opt in or out is not a non-issue. Municipalities have a one-time only opportunity to opt out by passing a resolution to that effect no later than Jan 22. Otherwise, when more licences are made available (eventually 1,000) the municipality will have to allow retail shops.

  2. Chuck says:

    Well we have 60+ weed joints on the reserve 25 km away, much cheaper than the Provincial shops will be.

  3. Theresa says:

    Currently 25 retail store licenses will be issued by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

    However, (from their website) “Ontario Regulation 468/18 establishes that, until such time as more than 25 retail store authorizations may be issued, none may be issued to a cannabis retail store located in a municipality with a population of less than 50,000.”

    Seems like opt in/opt out is a non-issue in the County for now.

  4. Paul Adamthwaite says:

    I got a phone call a few days ago from “logitgroup” who have been hired (cost?) by our County to “conduct a survey” on residents’ opinions about legal cannabis retail outlets. First they asked my age and said they didn’t need my opinion, as all the phones in the County are owned by people over 65 and it was “demographically skewing their results.” Surprise, surprise…

    After talking with a supervisor, I got a call back for the survey; my answers are covered by privacy, but I’m quite open to sharing a few points:
    – our duly elected Federal government has legalized some cannabis products. Like tobacco, booze and gambling, these become monopolized (federal, provincial, local) government cash cows to the detriment of addictive behaviour.
    – while law enforcement has currently only limited means of cannabis detection (less scientific than a breathalyser for alcohol), pot will add to the “distraction by cell-phone”, drunk-driving and other forms of road accidents, with the potential of impacting public nuisance and domestic disturbances.
    – the (by far) most positive element is that “sales profits” can be returned to the tax-payers rather than criminals (caveat: criminals will still pander to underage weed addicts.) There is a possible, but doubtful, health advantage in controlling the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content both quantitatively and qualitatively.

    Bottom line: it’s a no-brainer for the County to “go with the flow” — there’s unfortunately no way we’re going to be a “pot free” environment, so let us make a couple of dollars, get rid of some criminal activity and underhand dealing, and indirectly assist all those who are trying to educate our community, young and old, on addiction-caused life risks and dangers.

    Paul

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