Brampton calls on province for ‘more authority and control’ over cannabis stores


Published April 26, 2023 at 11:56 am

Just one week after Mississauga gave the green light to open cannabis stores, the City of Brampton is calling on the province for more control over where pot shops can go in the city.

After years of opting out of legal cannabis shops in its borders, Mississauga City Council voted 8-4 last week in favour of lifting the long-standing ban.

Some councillors had taken issue with a lack of control over where the pot shops would be allowed to open, holding out in hopes that the Ontario government would cave. But the province stood firm, saying the shops are not to be controlled by municipalities.

Now the City of Brampton is taking up that same fight, calling on the province for more say on where cannabis stores can go in the city.

Coun. Michael Palleschi proposed a motion at a Committee of Council meeting on Wednesday (April 26) asking Mayor Patrick Brown to reach out to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGOC) to advocate for “additional provisions” more control of cannabis store regulations in Brampton.

“We started saying to ourselves ‘It will work itself out because they can’t all survive in this climate,’ and yet more applications continue to come through,” Palleschi said on Wednesday.

“I think what we need is provincial help on this. We need more authority and control when it comes to these retail stores opening up in the municipality.”

Palleschi said he brought the motion forward over concerns with the proximity of cannabis retailers to schools, and the number of pot shops across the city.

Under the AGOC rules, no proposed cannabis retail store can be less than 150 metres from a school or private school, as defined in the Education Act. Palleschi said he’d like to see that 150-metre boundary extended to include other spaces like parks, recreation centres, places of worship and group homes.

According to the AGOC, the distance between a proposed retail store and a school or private school is measured by a straight line from the closest point of the school property or boundary to the closest point of the proposed retail store.

Palleschi also said he’d like to see the province restart funding for cannabis education programs, like the Peel Regional Police Cannabis Unit which was dissolved in 2022.

Mississauga held out for years advocating for more authority on pot shops from the province, but opted-in to legalization following a rise in black market retailers operating in the city.

Ontario municipalities had a one-time option to opt out of allowing cannabis retail stores in their communities. Municipalities that choose to opt out can opt back in at any time, but once they have opted in they may not reverse their decision.

There are only 62 municipalities in all of Ontario that have still chosen to opt out of allowing cannabis retailers to set up shop, including Caledon.

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