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Mississauga ready to reconsider ban on cannabis retail stores – Toronto

Ontario’s largest municipality without any legal cannabis Retail stores are set to reconsider their ban on Wednesday after a city report highlighted that its residents are “disproportionately” served by the illegal market.


Mississauga, Ontario, was one of dozens of municipalities that barred retail cannabis stores from their communities when legalization went into effect in 2018. The Liquor and Gaming Commission of Ontario is responsible for issuing licences, but the government has left it up to municipalities to choose. Inside or outside hosting stores.

Now, four and a half years later, with more than 1,700 legal stores and regions across the province contributing $13.3 billion to Ontario’s gross domestic product — according to a recent Deloitte analysis of city staff reports — it’s time to get Mississauga on board. There is a push for

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Mississauga council will consider lifting ban on pot shops

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City councilors are set to discuss a proposal from the county on Wednesday. Deepika Damerla to lift ban on cannabis stores Mississauga has advocated for more municipal control over the location of stores for years, but it’s become clear that’s not going to happen, she writes in her proposal.

“In the meantime, I have found that there has been a proliferation of illegal cannabis shops in Mississauga,” Damerla said in an interview.

“So now my choice is not between no stores and legal stores. The choice is illegal store or legal store.

The Ontario Cannabis Store, the province’s wholesaler for legal retailers, reports that the legal market has been growing steadily since 2018 and eating into the illegal business. As OCS reports, more than 50 percent of cannabis sales now occur through the legal market.

The Mississauga staff report says, “According to OCS, Mississauga is being disproportionately served by the illegal market, compared to communities that have ‘opted in.'”

In Damerla’s ward, police have tried six times to shut down an illegal cannabis shop, but the operators show up the next day, cut the chains open as usual, she said.

Click to play video: 'Drinkables, edibles could lead the future of the cannabis industry'

Beverages, foods could lead the future of the cannabis industry

“So we have a situation where the long arm of the law is unable to stop the illegal one,” she said. “In the meantime, I’m holding off on the legal ones – not a sustainable situation.”

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The city staff report cites a study by the National Research Council of Canada on behalf of OCS and the Ontario Provincial Police that found “great inconsistencies” in the amounts of THC in illegal cannabis edibles and “dangerously high levels of pesticides” . Plus, illegal products often have brightly colored packaging that will appeal to children, the study found.

Omar Khan, chief communications and public affairs officer for retailer High Tide Inc., is set to make a statement Wednesday detailing several examples of illegal products available in Mississauga that are designed to look like popular candy items.

“If council votes … to move the legal regulated area to Mississauga and give the opportunity to set up shop, we know from experience in other municipalities, particularly neighboring municipalities like Toronto and Brampton, that de facto illegal will take a big bite out of the market in Mississauga and their sales,” he said in an interview.

“It’s important because it’s important from the point of view of protecting our children. It’s important from the point of view of protecting public health, but it’s also important from the point of view of taking revenue away from criminal activity.”

Click to play video: 'City report suggests Regina will need 24 pot shops to disrupt black market'

City reports suggest Regina will need 24 pot shops to disrupt the black market

A general committee on which all of Mississauga’s councilors sit is set to discuss the city staff’s report and debate the issue on Wednesday, and Damerla said her proposal could come up for a vote that same day or the next. Voting may take place at a week one full council meeting.

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Damerla said one of Mississauga’s concerns in 2018 was the desire to avoid “clustering,” or having multiple stores in one block. But city staff canvassed neighboring municipalities with legal cannabis and found there were no major concerns. Also in Toronto, OCS reports that fewer stores were allowed to open in March 2023 than in May 2021.

“I think Mississauga was well served from a wait-and-see approach because we bypass a whole bunch of stores and then some of them close,” Damerla said.

“We bypassed it because now that the market is mature, they are aware of the risks of clustering.”

George Smitherman, president and CEO of the Cannabis Council of Canada, which represents licensed growers and processors, said the “gold rush” mentality of the early days of legalization has dissipated.

“Part of the stabilization of the sector is, in a certain sense, more realism about the realities of business,” he said in an interview.

“I think it will, in a certain sense, temper the enthusiasm of supporters of retail stores. It’s a very different environment from four or five years ago.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press

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