Barrie city council votes to allow cannabis retail stores within municipality

The City of Barrie has decided it will allow retail cannabis stores within the municipality.

At a meeting Monday evening, Barrie city councillors voted in favour of allowing bricks-and-mortar cannabis stores within the community.

The province has given municipalities until Jan. 22 to opt in or out of having private cannabis storefronts operate within their boundaries.

If the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has not received written notification from a municipality by the deadline, private cannabis retail stores will be allowed within the jurisdiction by default.

Now that Barrie has chosen to opt in, the city will have little say as to where the cannabis retail stores will be located. That decision is up to the AGCO, which will be responsible for approving or denying site applications.

However, municipalities are able to provide the AGCO with a “public interest statement” of proposed guidelines they would like to see implemented when it comes to the placement of pot shops within their jurisdictions.

In Barrie, council would like to ban cannabis retail stores within 300 metres of schools and within 150 metres of other “sensitive properties,” including parks and open spaces, day nurseries and childcare centres, libraries, community centres, mental health centres and addiction facilities such as alcohol and detox centres and clinics.

The AGCO announced on Friday the 25 winners of its “expression of interest” lottery, who will be granted retail cannabis licences to operate the province’s first pot shops.

Of the 25 announced, five licences will be allocated to the East Region.

Now that the city has opted in, any of the five licencees may choose to apply to open a pot shop in Barrie.

The first 25 retail cannabis stores are expected to open across the province on April 1.

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