Update - January 10, 2019
Media Release: Midland Council opts-in to allow Cannabis Retail Stores
Cannabis Retail Stores will be welcome in the Town of Midland after Council voted unanimously to opt-in to Section 42 of the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018. One member of council was excused from the discussion/vote due to a declared pecuniary interest. The Province created a deadline of January 22, 2019, to receive input from municipal decision-makers as to their willingness to allow retail cannabis stores in their communities.
“I feel the decision to opt-in was made easier by the fact we know Midland won't be eligible for a Cannabis Retail Store in the first round of licensing by the Province," said Mayor Stewart Strathearn. “At the same time, we need to recognize that Cannabis is now a legal product in Canada and is becoming a new and emerging industry. This decision will allow Midland to leave the door open for that opportunity should the Province extend the retail licensing to communities such as ours."
Under Ontario Regulation #468/18 there will be 25 Cannabis Retail Store authorizations in Ontario by April 1, 2019, with five of those being awarded in our region (East Region). Midland is currently not eligible for a store, in part due to a minimum population requirement of 50,000. There is currently no timeline for revisions to the eligibility criteria permitting retail outlets in municipalities such as Midland.
Council also chose to rely on new rules under the Smoke Free Ontario Act, 2018, for regulating smoking in and around public facilities. This amendment to the Act also includes cannabis.
“Although more restrictive rules on smoking cannabis were considered, we determined that Midland-specific rules would simply cause confusion between any rules that would be considered by the County of Simcoe Health Unit and/or Provincial enforcement agencies," added Mayor Strathearn. “Relying solely upon the Smoke Free Ontario Act for purposes of enforcement, will eliminate any confusion, and avoid any potential additional costs related to enforcement."
Click here to view a PDF of the media release.
Update - December 2018
As of October 17, 2018, it is now legal to purchase and use cannabis for recreational purposes across Canada.
In Ontario, currently the only way to legally purchase recreational cannabis is online through the Ontario Cannabis Store. However, municipalities across the province have the option to allow retail cannabis stores beginning in April 2019.
On December 14, 2018, the Province announced that only municipalities with a population over 50,000 will be eligible for cannabis retail store licences, until such time as more licences will be issued.
By January 22, 2019, the Town of Midland needs to confirm with the province whether it will allow private retail stores in future. If a municipality opts out of allowing cannabis retail stores, they have the option of opting in at a later date. However, if a municipality opts in by this date, they will not be able to opt out of allowing cannabis retail stores in the future.
Should the Town of Midland decide to opt in, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will be responsible for the siting of any cannabis retail stores.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will the Town allow cannabis retailers in Midland?
This is a matter for the new Town Council to decide. Municipalities have the opportunity to opt-out of allowing retail stores by January 22, 2019.
Does the Town intend to opt-out of allowing cannabis retailers in Midland?
Town Council will decide whether or not cannabis retail establishments should be allowed in Midland at the January 9, 2019 Council meeting.
Who provides the license to private retailers to operate in Midland?
Should the Town choose to allow private retailers to operate in Midland, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, the independent provincial regulator, will license and regulate private cannabis retail in Midland.
What types of businesses can apply for cannabis retail license?
Where will these stores be located if allowed?
Should the Town choose to allow private retailers to operate in Midland, store locations will be regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). When a store location application is received, the AGCO Registrar will initiate a public notice process for the municipality and its residents to make written submissions to the Registrar within a 15-day period.
*As per the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018 (Ontario Regulation 468/18): A cannabis retail store may not be located less than 150 metres from a school*