Retail Cannabis stores are getting the thumbs up from Kapuskasing.

Council has decided that the town will notify the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario that they are opting-in to allow private recreational cannabis retail stores to be welcomed within the community.

Chief of Planning and Protective Services Ken Munnoch voiced some of his displeasure at council with the current system stating that he wished the municipality would have more control over the zoning by-laws.

However, Munnoch also spoke on the fact that an interim control by-law must be first passed to allow enough time for the council and town to study the impacts with respect to zoning and land use when it comes to deciding where to allow retail cannabis stores to be opened.

The interim control by-law also will provide the town with a one-year grace period to prohibit the opening of retail cannabis stores and with an option to extend that by-law to deny stores for an additional year while clarifying their policy.

Some of the highlights of this decision include:

  • the AGCO will license operators, approve store sites proposed and license cannabis retail managers.
  • municipalities will have a 15-day notice period to allow for comments from the public
  • enforcement will be undertaken by the OPP for road safety and illegal storefronts, Public Health will enforce smoke free Ontario rules and the AGCO will inspect, investigate and enforce rules for registered operators and stores and municipalities will ensure proper advertising rules are followed.
  • municipalities who opt-in will receive at least $10,000 to help transition to legal recreational cannabis in the community, plus per household funding and will be eligible for a share of 50 per cent of the surplus funding if the province’s share of federal excise tax exceeds $100 million in the first two years.
  • the municipality will adopt a Municipal Cannabis Policy Statement to provide guidance on commenting to AGCO when notice on a specific proposed cannabis retail store site is provided to comply with zoning by-laws and the Official Plan. (i.e. location in proximity to schools/youth establishments, specific commercial zones, sensitive areas, etc.) and will help to ensure public health and safety, protect youth and reduce illegal sales. The Zoning By-Law and land use policies will be reviewed and amended as part of the proposed Interim Control By-Law provision to allow time to study and evaluate the addition of permitting retail cannabis stores. In addition, retail cannabis stores are only permitted within core commercial zones which for Kapuskasing would only be permitted in the downtown area and mall retail sector as per the attached map.

In summary, the town will receive $10,000 for opting-in that will go towards the creation of stores and the AGCO will hold the duty of inspecting and enforcing rules for registered retailers.