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Town asks for ‘radial separation’ of cannabis retailers

March 4, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Orangeville Council is requesting that the Ontario government amend its licensing application process for cannabis retail stores to consider radial separation from each location. 

At a special Council meeting last month, Coun. Debbie Sherwood introduced a notice of motion, which has the Town’s Mayor contact the Premier of Ontario, Ministry of Attorney General, and Dufferin–Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones to put forward the request.

“What I’m doing is supporting our fellow municipalities, the City of Port Colborne and the City of Hamilton, who’s requested that we lobby to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario when they are considering the applications of cannabis retail stores, that they consider a radial separation of retail stores as part of the application process,” said Coun. Sherwood.

“It’s so we don’t have cannabis store beside cannabis store continually.”

During the meeting, Coun. Sherwood said some members of the Orangeville Business Improvement Association (OBIA) had concerns about the potential for downtown to be filled with cannabis stores in tight proximity. 

However, the OBIA has not yet taken an official stance as an organization on the issue. 

Coun. Sherwood told the Citizen, Roger Brooks, a former consultant for the Town of Orangeville, had recommended to create a diversified downtown in terms of the variety of unique businesses.

She says she fully supports several cannabis stores opening in Town if they can maintain a healthy level of business, however she doesn’t want to see them all clustered together.

After Coun. Sherwood’s motion was brought forward, Coun. Grant Peters said he doesn’t know if he’s aligned with the logic behind the motion. 

“The province regulates how far a store can be from a school and I understand that, but in terms of proximity to each other, or other establishments, I don’t really see the benefit. I don’t really see the rationale behind it,” he remarked. “We have other establishments lined up all in a row ­– bars, convenience stores that sell cigarettes, for example.”

“The market should take care of the marketplace and should take care of where things end up and how customers are distributed,” he added.

“We want businesses downtown that invite walk ups and foot traffic, so I really don’t see the benefit of a motion of this nature.”

Coun. Andy Macintosh said while he understands Coun. Peters point, there’s a bylaw in Town that permits only one liquor store on Broadway and this would be a similar type of restriction for the downtown.

After listening to Coun. Peters comments Mayor Sandy Brown said the market forces are really what will control the placement of cannabis retail stores locally.

“I think we all know about the danger of alcohol and it certainly seems to be causing more problems in society than cannabis. Now we’re a couple years into the legalization of cannabis,” he said. “It’s an interesting topic, but, you know, red tape and further red tape is not something I’m a big fan of.”

Coun. Todd Taylor said that Coun. Sherwood’s efforts to support fellow municipalities is a “noble thing to do” but the reality is the Province is going to dictate where the cannabis stores go and doesn’t think that Council’s request will change that, but was happy to support the motion.

Coun. Sherwood’s motion passed and the Town has communicated their support for radial separation of cannabis retail stores.



         

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