Stouffville Council is asking residents for comment on cannabis. Markham has already decided they want no retail pot stores within city boundaries, but decisions for Stouffville are still a burning issue.

Recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada on Oct. 17. Provinces were permitted to regulate the sale of it within their jurisdictions how they saw fit. The Ontario Government has passed legislation which sets out the legal structure for recreational cannabis in Ontario, including the private retail model.

Municipalities have until Jan. 22, 2019, to decide whether they will opt-out of allowing private retail cannabis storefronts within their municipalities. Detailed regulations pertaining to retail cannabis stores were released by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) in November.

Town Council, on Nov. 20, decided to host public consultations to allow the community to express their opinions on retail cannabis within the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville.

The legislation passed by the Ontario government allows smoking recreational cannabis where tobacco consumption is permitted under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (2017). It is illegal to smoke tobacco in enclosed workplaces, restaurants, bars, patios, or within a 20-meter radius of childcare facilities and school playgrounds as well as publicly owned areas such as playgrounds, municipal facilities, sports facilities including stands and spectator viewing areas. Golf courses are exempt from the restriction. Municipal governments can enact stricter bylaws on places to smoke in their communities.

Staff recommended to council that the town continue to monitor the impacts the legislation is having on the consumption and display of cannabis in open public spaces and in and around municipal facilities in the coming months. The process will include a review of common practices being adopted by other municipalities, feedback received by community residents through the public consultation initiatives and further information being released through December 2018 along with the impacts on enforcement of such activities.

Private retail cannabis stores are expected to open April 1, 2019 and are only permitted to sell cannabis from the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation.

Public meetings will be held on Dec. 18, Jan. 8 and 10. All meetings will be in council chambers, 111 Sandiford Dr., Stouffville. The meetings will allow council to hear directly from the community on whether to opt-out of retail cannabis storefronts.

Find the full report here: whitchurch.civicweb.net/FileStorage/2FAEDA2CAE424EB7BB615E67803577B5-DS-059-18%20-%20Cannabis.pdf