Town opts out of privately-operated retail cannabis stores

Tue, 15 Jan 2019

Decision to be reviewed in December 2019

The Town of Oakville decided at its Council meeting last night that it will opt-out and not allow privately-operated cannabis retail stores in Oakville.

The Province of Ontario gave municipalities until January 22, 2019 to decide whether they will opt-in or opt-out of having retail cannabis stores within their boundaries. Municipalities that choose to opt-out can opt back in at any time. While municipalities do not have a say on the province’s warehouse or online sales, they were provided the opportunity to not allow private retail stores.

“Town Council’s vote to opt-out reflects what we have heard throughout our community,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “We are supporting a wait and watch approach at this time. Municipalities just don’t have enough input into cannabis retail stores when it comes to notice, location, zoning and licensing. We have asked staff to report back to us by December 2019 to reconsider our decision once more detailed information on cannabis retail stores becomes available.”

The town will provide written notice of Oakville’s decision to opt out to the Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, in accordance with the Cannabis License Act, 2018.

The AGCO controls private retail cannabis store licensing and operations. The province isn’t allowing municipalities to regulate the locations of cannabis stores through zoning rules, nor can it limit the number of stores in the municipality.

The province is however, mandating a 150-metre buffer between the retail stores and schools. Stores must undergo a pre-inspection by the AGCO and display a provincial authorization sticker. Sales will be restricted to adults 19 years and older, and stores can be open between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily. The maximum number of stores per operator in the province has been set at 75.

The production, sale and use of recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada on October 17, 2018. The Province of Ontario has elected to allow recreational cannabis to be sold on-line through the Ontario Cannabis Store and in privately operated retail stores. The location and operation of these private stores will be under the control of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), which is also responsible for regulating gaming and alcohol sales in the province.

This private retail model will launch April 1, 2019.

To learn more about recreational cannabis in Oakville, visit our Cannabis page.