Legal Cannabis on the Horizon? Mississauga Reconsiders Ban

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Legal Cannabis on the Horizon? Mississauga Reconsiders Ban

Mississauga Reconsiders Ban on Cannabis Retail Stores

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Ontario’s largest municipality without legal cannabis retail stores may lift its ban on Wednesday. The city is set to consider a motion from a councilor to reverse the prohibition after a report highlighted that Mississauga residents are being “disproportionately” served by the illegal market.

Mississauga’s initial ban

In 2018, Mississauga was one of many Ontario municipalities to ban retail cannabis stores when legalization came into effect. While the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is responsible for issuing licenses, the government left it up to municipalities to opt in or out of hosting stores.

Illegal stores on the rise

According to a city staff report, there has been a proliferation of illegal cannabis stores in Mississauga. A motion to lift the ban on cannabis stores has been put forward to avoid illegal stores, which are disproportionately serving the area.

Legal market growth

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

Push for legal stores

Mississauga councilors will consider a motion to lift the ban on cannabis stores. The city has been advocating for more municipal control over the location of stores, but it has become clear that isn’t going to happen. In Damerla’s ward, police have tried six times to shut down one illegal cannabis store, but the operators just show up the next day, cut the chains off, and open as usual.

Industry insider’s take

Omar Khan, the chief communications and public affairs officer for retailer High Tide Inc., is set to give a deposition on Wednesday. He has several examples of illegal products available in Mississauga that are designed to look like popular candy items. Khan said that if council votes to allow legal stores into Mississauga, it will take a big bite out of the illicit market and their sales.

Public safety concerns

A study by the National Research Council of Canada on behalf of the OCS and the Ontario Provincial Police found “great inconsistency” in the amount of THC in illegal cannabis edibles and “dangerously high levels of pesticides.” Illegal products often have brightly colored packaging that would appeal to children.

Coun. Dipika Damerla introduced the motion for the city to reconsider its ban on retail cannabis stores. (Sara Jabakhanji/CBC) Mississauga set to reconsider ban on cannabis retail stores
Coun. Dipika Damerla introduced the motion for the city to reconsider its ban on retail cannabis stores. (Sara Jabakhanji/CBC)

Clustering concerns

One of Mississauga’s concerns in 2018 was around a desire to avoid “clustering,” or having several stores in one block. However, city staff canvassed neighboring municipalities with legal cannabis and found that clustering was not a significant concern there.

Cannabis sector stabilization

George Smitherman, president and CEO of the Cannabis Council of Canada, which represents licensed producers and processors, said the “gold rush” mentality of the early days of legalization has dissipated. “Part of the stabilization of the sector, in a certain sense, is more of a stark realism about the realities of the business,” he said.

Conclusion

Mississauga’s ban on cannabis stores may be lifted due to the proliferation of illegal cannabis stores in the city. The legal market has been steadily growing since 2018, and more than 50% of cannabis sales are now through the legal market. However, there are concerns about public safety and illegal cannabis edibles. Furthermore, Mississauga’s initial concern about clustering has been found not to be an issue in neighboring municipalities. The early gold rush mentality of the cannabis sector has stabilized, with a focus on the realities of the business.

FAQs

  1. Why did Mississauga ban cannabis stores initially?

Mississauga was one of many Ontario municipalities to ban retail cannabis stores when legalization came into effect in 2018.

  1. Why is there a push to lift the ban on cannabis stores in Mississauga?

There is a push to lift the ban on cannabis stores in Mississauga because the city’s residents are being disproportionately served by the illegal market. Legal stores can help reduce the number of illegal stores and provide a safer option for consumers.

  1. How has the legal cannabis market been growing in Ontario?

According to the Ontario Cannabis Store, the legal cannabis market has been steadily growing since 2018 and has been eating into illegal business. More than 50% of cannabis sales are now through the legal market.

  1. What are the public safety concerns related to illegal cannabis products?

A study by the National Research Council of Canada found “great inconsistency” in the amount of THC in illegal cannabis edibles and “dangerously high levels of pesticides.” Illegal products often have brightly colored packaging that would appeal to children.

  1. Why was clustering a concern for Mississauga in 2018?

Mississauga was concerned about clustering, or having several stores in one block, because it could lead to an oversaturation of cannabis stores in certain areas. However, neighboring municipalities with legal cannabis have found that clustering is not a significant concern.

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