Mississauga Moment of Truth: Legal Cannabis Stores on the Ballot

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Mississauga Moment of Truth: Legal Cannabis Stores on the Ballot

The Pros and Cons of Lifting the Ban on Legal Cannabis Stores in Mississauga

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The Mississauga City Council is set to vote on Wednesday regarding the lifting of the ban on legal cannabis stores in the city. This comes after dozens of municipalities across Ontario barred retail cannabis stores from their communities when cannabis was legalized in 2018.

Growing Concerns Over Increase in Illegal Pot Shops

Despite the ban, the city has seen an increase in illegal pot shops in recent years. This has caused concerns among city officials, who believe that ending the ban may help reduce the number of illegal pot shops operating in the city. According to data from the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), Mississauga continues to be disproportionately served by the illegal market compared to communities that opted in.

Staff Report Recommends Ending Ban

A staff report has recommended ending the ban on legal cannabis stores in Mississauga. However, at the last week’s general committee meeting, about half of the councillors who spoke about the issue were not in support of lifting the ban. Those who voted against it claimed they were concerned about the placement of stores and that residents had not been given enough time to offer input.

Mayor Crombie’s Original Concerns

Mayor Bonnie Crombie had initially expressed concerns that municipalities have no real control over where legal cannabis shops can be established. She was worried that several stores would be clustered in one area, which could lead to issues such as increased traffic, noise, and crime.

Legal Market Growth

Despite the concerns, the OCS reports that the legal market has been steadily growing since 2018, eating into the illegal business. The report states that more than 50% of cannabis sales are now through the legal market.

Possible Benefits of Lifting the Ban

Lifting the ban on legal cannabis stores in Mississauga could have several potential benefits. It could help reduce the number of illegal pot shops operating in the city, which could lead to a reduction in crime and improved safety for residents. It could also generate additional revenue for the city through taxes and licensing fees.

Concerns Over Placement of Stores

One of the main concerns raised by those who oppose lifting the ban is the placement of stores. Some councillors are worried that stores could be located too close to schools, parks, or other sensitive areas. However, others argue that the city could put in place zoning regulations to ensure that stores are located in appropriate areas.

Residents’ Input

Another concern raised by opponents of lifting the ban is that residents have not been given enough time to provide input on the issue. However, those who support ending the ban argue that the city has already held public consultations on the issue and that residents have had ample opportunity to voice their opinions.

Potential Economic Benefits

Lifting the ban could also have significant economic benefits for the city. Legal cannabis stores would generate additional tax revenue for the city, which could be used to fund various programs and initiatives. The stores could also create jobs and attract new businesses to the area.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Mississauga City Council will vote on Wednesday regarding the lifting of the ban on legal cannabis stores in the city. While there are concerns about the placement of stores and the potential impact on residents, there are also potential benefits such as a reduction in illegal pot shops, increased safety for residents, and additional revenue for the city. It remains to be seen how the vote will go and what the implications will be for the city and its residents.

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