Brampton Votes In Favour Of Retail Pot Shops, Vaughan Votes Against It

The City of Brampton will allow the sale of marijuana inside licensed retail stores.

City councillors voted eight to three in favour of allowing the shops to open at a meeting held on Monday evening. The vote comes one day before the deadline to opt-out.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said he believes the “best decision” for the city was made through this vote.

“Initially I would have leaned towards opting-out. I’m not a fan of cannabis. It’s not a substance I have ever used but at the end of the day my greatest concern is public safety, it’s about keeping the streets and Brampton safe,” Brown said after the vote.

“The black market dispensaries are popping up in communities that have opted-out and I don’t want to support a criminal industry. If someone is going to have cannabis then I hope it is from a legal provider.”

One of the city councillors who voted against the retail stores said she will continue to advocate for opposing residents.

“I’m sure the people who signed these petitions are quite disappointed in the results and I will be continuing to advocate for the community that wants us to opt-out should a store come to Brampton in my Ward 7 and 8 because I know there are quite a few people who are quite disappointed right now,” Charmaine Williams said following the vote.

Brown said he consulted with residents in Brampton prior to the vote.

“When I had conversations with residents and I explained that cannabis is here whether we like it or not – it was legalized in Ottawa – and I explained this wasn’t a debate over legalization, it was a debate to allow retail stores in order to get police funding from the province then I found people tended to change their opinion,” he said.

Cities opting-in to retail stores will receive funding from the Ontario Cannabis Legalization Implementation Fund to help offset costs associated with legalization.

The sale of legalized marijuana to persons 19 years of age or older in Ontario began on Oct. 17 online through the Ontario Cannabis Store.

Retail operations in the province are expected to commence on April 1.

The first 25 companies that are allowed to apply for cannabis retail licenses in Ontario were announced on Jan. 11 after a lottery was held. Those who were selected had five business days to hand in their application with a $6,000 non-refundable fee and a $50,000 letter of credit.

Five licenses were given to the east of the province, seven to the west, two in the north, six in the Greater Toronto Area and five for Toronto.

Toronto and Hamilton previously voted in favour of allowing retail pot shops, while Mississauga and Markham voted against the matter. Vaughan city councillors decided to opt out of retail pot shops following a vote on Monday night.

Tuesday marks the deadline for municipalities to decide whether they will allow licensed pot stores in their respective communities.