Mississauga City Council has voted 8-4 in favour of lifting the ban on cannabis retail stores. The decision was made after a lengthy debate over concerns about lack of municipal oversight and clustering of stores. Initially opting out of the retail sale of cannabis in 2018. Mississauga took a wait-and-see approach to watch how the market performed in other municipalities before deciding to opt in.
While clustering has been an issue in other municipalities, proponents of legalized cannabis storefronts in Mississauga believe the issue has self-corrected since 2018. Under provincial law, municipalities have no say in the location of cannabis stores other than a minimum distance of 150 metres between storefronts. As there is no limit to the number of licenses that can be in a particular area.
Mayor Bonnie Mississauga Mayor Lifting the Ban on Cannabis Retail Stores
Mayor Bonnie Crombie previously supported opting out of allowing cannabis retail stores in Mississauga back in 2018. Hoping that municipalities would have more control over where the stores could be located. However, it has become evident that the province will not be granting any additional oversight powers to municipalities, according to Crombie. She has observed that other municipalities have successfully managed the location of stores without the clustering that was initially a concern.
Instead, the proliferation of illegal stores has been the issue. Crombie wants to ensure that if cannabis is in Mississauga, it is a safe product. A city staff report cites a study by the National Research Council of Canada. Which, found dangerously high levels of pesticides in illegal cannabis. As well as, illegal products are often marketed in bright packaging that appeals to children.
Coun. Dipika Damerla put forward the motion to allow legal stores. Stating, that opting out has allowed illegal stores to flourish in the city. Including, one in her ward that police have unsuccessfully tried to shut down six times. The goal of allowing legal stores is to prevent illegal stores from creating more illegal activity while contributing to the province’s GDP. As per a recent Deloitte analysis cited in the Mississauga city staff report. There are currently over 1,700 legal stores in Ontario.
In conclusion, Mississauga will be lifting its ban on cannabis retail stores after a vote by city councillors in favor of opting in. The decision comes after five years of monitoring the experience of other municipalities, observing that there hasn’t been clustering of stores, but instead, an increase in illegal stores.
The city hopes to prevent further illegal activity while contributing to the province’s GDP by allowing legal stores to operate. With over 1,700 legal stores across the province, Mississauga will now join the growing list of municipalities that have opted in to allow legal cannabis retail stores.