Can we see cannabis stores in Mississauga as early as June?

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Published May 26, 2021 at 12:15 am

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Whether we see pot stores in Mississauga by the end of the year could be decided soon.

With a report coming forward at its June 9 meeting, City Council is set to hold another discussion surrounding whether retail cannabis stores can open shop here.

A motion to opt-in to the brick and mortar stores that evening could get the ball rolling after the City had initially opted-out.

“That’s all depending on the vote of council, so I can’t really speculate,” Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie told insauga.com’s Khaled Iwamura. “I think there have been a number of votes that have switched, but is it enough?”

If a motion is brought up and passed on June 9, the by-law would come to council the following week on June 16 for a vote.

Seven people out of the 12 must vote yes.

“I can’t tell you, I think there’s a bit of movement yes and no on whether that will happen,” Crombie said.

 “There is a possibility of that happening, but I don’t know where the votes are right now,” she added. “They’ve been a bit fluid, I will say.”

Crombie says the report coming back to council is not coming forward with a recommendation, just as information. Initially the City of Mississauga’s decision to opt-out was surrounding control over where the cannabis stores could locate.

The mayor said they didn’t want the stores to open in any areas around sensitive youth.

“Which not only included schools, but community centres, daycares, drop-in centres, congregate settings, group homes and etc,” she said. “We didn’t want them close to sensitive youths and we wanted control over the number that would be permitted in any identified territories.

Crombie points to areas like Streetsville, Port Credit, Lakeview or Clarkson and the answer of how many stores could they open in a defined area?

“We weren’t given the ability to control that,” she said of what led to the initial decision to opt-out. “Now, we have observed examples in other municipalities and, quite frankly, I think it has gone quite well.”

Crombie says there have been examples and she talks of one  previously raised by City Councillor Carolyn Parrish where a number of the small businesses and kiosks closed in the St. Lawrence Market area in Toronto and the cannabis retailers went in.

The question was how many can be allowed in the area?

“The reality is the provincial government doesn’t want to control that number. They want the market to decide,” Crombie explained. “We’ve said we’d be comfortable if whatever number we decide is permitted, but not all. We have a dozen for lease signs in open windows in shops on Lakeshore. Can they all be cannabis stores? So we wanted that control, but they have not given that to us.”

The City has also taken in information from what she calls a “great report” by the police board. Peel police put together an analysis of the impact of both illegal and legal cannabis stores. Brampton now has legal stores, while Mississauga is still dealing with illegal stores they are trying to “constantly” close down.

What the police report found was there’s greater criminal activity occurring generally in the cannabis stores where they are operating illegally.

“We all know that you can still order cannabis online and it will be delivered to your home, so people are still purchasing it,” Crombie said. “We have evidence that the industry is quite large here in Mississauga, we’re just not permitting retailing.”

All this, says Crombie, will be part of the discussion at council on June 9.

“I think perhaps councillors will put a motion forward on whether or not to opt-in or opt-out and it will depend on whether they’re satisfied that, notwithstanding, we weren’t given the control over zoning we had requested (and) that there had not have been significant issues in other municipalities that proceeded with opting-in,” she said.

Crombie said they continue to look at other communities for examples. Pickering, after initially opting-out, has recently decided to opt-in. Still, there remain other large cities in the province that have yet to opt-in.

“The other holdouts are largely Vaughan, Markham and ourselves, are the bigger ones that opted-out,” she said.

One thing certain, is that there is definitely no shortage of interest surrounding the decision.

“I’ve got tons and tons of calls and emails about it,” the Mississauga mayor said. 

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