Community Input on Retail Cannabis

Have your say on cannabis retail store in GrimsbyNow that cannabis is legal in Canada, recreational cannabis is available in Ontario to individuals 19 years of age and older only online through the Ontario Cannabis Store. Private, bricks-and-mortar cannabis stores will start opening in communities across the province as early as April 1, 2019.

Municipalities in Ontario have a one-time chance to make a decision about whether to “opt out” of allowing private cannabis retail stores within their community.

The online survey is now closed. Please review the content below to learn more about the implications for both opting-in and opting-out.



Opt out - Banning private cannabis retail stores

  • Town Council must pass a resolution to opt out and provide it to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario by Jan. 22, 2019. 
  • Town Council can opt-in at a later date, but will then be unable to opt out in the future.
  • If Town Council opts out, no cannabis retail store authorizations will be issued in Grimsby. This means there will be no legal cannabis stores in the Town.
  • Opting-out of retails stores does not ban cannabis from the Town: 
    • Individuals who are 19 years of age and older will be able to continue to legally purchase recreational cannabis through the Ontario Cannabis Store online
    • They can purchase cannabis at a retail store in a community that has not opted out.
    • Individuals will also be able to grow up to four plants per household for personal use.
Financial Considerations 
  • Initial funding from the province will be distributed to municipalities in January 2019 on a per-household basis. The Town of Grimsby is expected to receive $13,616. If Town Council opts out, the second installment in March 2019 will be capped at $5,000.
  • The Town will be ineligible for any future funding that may become available
  • The municipality will only be able to use these funds for costs related to the transition of legalization (i.e., enforcement, emergency services, by-law enforcement, policy development, etc.).
  • If Town Council opts out, the municipality would not be eligible to receive a share in the federal excise duty (while unknown, this could be a substantial amount of funding).
  • The province has set aside $10 million in funding for “unforeseen circumstances” and priority to access these funds would go to municipalities that have not opted out by the Jan. 22, 2019 deadline.

Opt in - Allow private cannabis retail stores

  • If Town Council does not pass a resolution to opt out by Jan. 22, 2019, they are automatically deemed to have opted in and this decision is final.
  • The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will be responsible for issuing a licence to operate a cannabis retail store (similar to a liquor license)
  • The province has identified a buffer-zone of, at minimum, 150 metres between a cannabis retail store and a school.
  • The municipality will not be able to pass by-laws to create restrictions specific to cannabis retail stores, it cannot limit the number of cannabis stores in Grimsby, and it cannot create separate business licensing regulations for cannabis retail stores.
  • The province will post a notice to the public on the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) website and place a notice on the proposed cannabis store location for 15 days. During that time, the municipality and residents will be able to provide a written submission to the AGCO about any concerns they have with the retail location. The AGCO may refuse to authorize the store if it is in the public interest to do so. The following are the areas of “public interest” the AGCO can consider, as defined by the regulations:
    • Public health and safety
    • Protecting youth and restricting their access to cannabis
    • Preventing illegal activities in relation to cannabis
Financial Considerations 
  • If Town Council opts in by Jan. 22, 2019, they will be eligible for a second installment of funds in March 2019 expected to be larger than the first installment of $13,616.
  • The municipality will only be able to use these funds for costs related to the transition of legalization (i.e., enforcement, emergency services, by-law enforcement, etc.).
  • If the province’s portion of federal excise taxes on recreational cannabis exceeds $100 million, the province will provide 50 per cent of the surplus to municipalities who did not opt out as of Jan. 22, 2019.

Public engagement results

The results of the public engagement will be brought forward to Town Council on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. The report and presentation will be available Friday afternoon.

Residents wishing to make a delegation before council on the topic of opting-in or out of retail sales in Grimsby must submit a request to the Town Clerk.

More information on cannabis in Ontario

To learn more about a cannabis in Ontario, visit the following:

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