City of Kawartha Lakes green-lights cannabis stores

On Tuesday, City of Kawartha Lakes council unanimously opted in to allow a cannabis store to set up shop in the community.

In a recorded vote, seven councillors and the mayor (one councillor was absent) all said yes to the motion to allow private recreational cannabis retail storefronts.

“The province has committed approximately $100,000 to the municipality right now as the phase one funding for implementing any and all cannabis legalization impact or cost,” said Ron Taylor, chief administration officer for the City of Kawartha Lakes.

“Following the opt-in, the deadline is January 22nd. There would be a second pool of funding, that we estimate will be similar.”

Five licensees were awarded for the east region, an area stretching from Barrie to Ottawa.

Six communities qualify (pending a vote to opt in) for a cannabis store by April 1. Those communities, including the City of Kawartha Lakes and Peterborough, have the required population of 50,000 or more.

“We’re stuck with it and I think we need to make the best of it,” said Doug Elmslie, city councillor. “I think that now that it is legal, it is in our best interest to allow it in our community.”

Councillor Ron Ashmore raised concern over costs, specifically if the roll-out would be a burden for taxpayers.

“We don’t foresee a major or significant burden on the municipality itself,” Taylor said. “We are recommending putting the funds into a reserve. It wouldn’t be an additional cost to the taxpayer, in our opinion.”

A statement emailed to Global News on Monday from Raymond Kahnert, a spokesperson for Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, read: “The licensees have five days to commence their application for a retail operator licence. The applicants will also need to file an application for authorization for a retail store and include the address of the proposed store. The applications, including the locations of the stores, will be made public at that time. There will be a 15-day period for the public and municipal officials to comment on the request for authorization.”

Communities must decide to opt in or opt out by the Jan. 22 deadline.

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