Marmora and Lake first municipality in Hastings County to opt-out of having retail Cannabis stores

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Marmora and Lake - Council has voted in opposition to allowing retail Cannabis locations to set up shop in the municipality. 

Despite a report from CAO Typhany Choinard recommending the municipality opt-in, along with a survey completed by 423 people that showed a 74 per cent rate of support for a potential Cannabis shop, council was not convinced. 

“Several respondents provided comments in the survey. Many were positive and supported opting in,” said the report. “Respondents generally felt that having a retail recreational store would be similar to having an LCBO. They also identified positive economic spinoffs as it would bring a retail storefront to the community.”

The report also stated that opting in would not necessarily mean a recreational Cannabis store would be opening right away. In fact, the province would take a phased-in approach and the first phase would see 25 retail locations placed in communities with populations exceeding 50,000 residents. 

By opting out, the municipality will not be eligible for funding promised by the provincial government, according to the report. 

“The provincial government has confirmed that it will honour its commitment to provide municipal governments with $40 million of Ontario’s portion of the federal excise tax on Cannabis with a 50/50 provincial-municipal split if Ontario’s revenues exceed $100 million within the first two years.”

The government is dedicating itself to providing a minimum of $10,000 to each municipality with a retail location, with additional funding being allocated on a per-household basis. 

Of the 14 member municipalities in Hastings County, Marmora and Lake is the first to opt-out of the opportunity. Tudor and Cashel, Bancroft, Centre Hastings, Deseronto, Tweed and Wollaston councils have all opted-in, while the remaining lower-tier municipalities in the county haven’t yet made a decision. 

Deputy Mayor Mike Stevens was the only councillor who supported the CAO’s report, but his motion to follow the recommendation failed, and instead, council passed the motion to opt-out. Council may reverse that decision in the future if it wishes. 

Jennifer BennettComment