It’s now been one month since the federal government legalized marijuana across the nation. Now, municipalities will have to start weighing their options in regards to allowing the sale of marijuana in their communities next year.

Municipalities have the option to opt-in or opt-out on if they will allow businesses in their community to sell cannabis in a physical store. Municipalities will need to make their one-time decision in January, 2019.

“It’s up to the municipalities as to how they want to regulate by-laws and cannabis. My personal view and the view of our government, is that if we’re going to stomp out the illegal use of cannabis, everyone has to participate and be involved,” said Kenora MP Bob Nault.

Private stores will be allowed to open across the province on April 1, 2019. If stores are allowed in the community, businesses will have to apply for a licence to sell the product through the province. Applications can begin on December 17, before municipalities make their decision.

The provincial government has announced that they will not cap the amount of retail licences they will issue to businesses, as long as they follow the proper regulations. Until then, the only legal way to purchase the product is through the Ontario Cannabis Store.

At the All Candidates Forum in Dryden last month, most candidates supported the idea of the city welcoming marijuana stores in the area, as cannabis present in the community with or without a store. Many also noted that if Dryden does not have one, surrounding communities will, and the city would lose out on a potentially-significant revenue stream.

“If there’s no opportunity to purchase cannabis in the community, people will go elsewhere to do that. I don’t think running from the issue is the solution. Everyone has to pull together on this and look at their options. There will still be cannabis activity, if we control it and regulate it, we’re all better off that way.”

“It’s a tough decision. It’s new. Not everyone knows what will work, and there are options. But in my view, I think everyone has to participate.”

If the province's excise duty revenues exceed $100 million in the first two years following legalization, the revenue will be shared 50/50. There are 444 municipalities in Ontario.

For more information:
Chief of Police talks pot legalization
Candidates speak their minds