City of Ottawa to conduct survey on whether cannabis stores should be allowed

Marijuana plants are shown at a cultivation facility in Olds, Alta., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

The city of Ottawa announced Thursday that it will be conducting a survey to ask residents to provide their input on whether they think retail cannabis stores should be allowed in the city.

According to the city, residents have from Oct. 25 until Nov. 7 to complete the survey. Those who wish to fill out a paper copy can find them at the city’s client service centres.

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The city says the province has provided a framework to cities in respect to these stores and their operation which is scheduled to begin in April 2019. Right now, cannabis consumers can only order the product online in Ontario.

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The province has also given municipalities the option to opt out of allowing the stores within their boundaries. The municipalities have until Jan. 22, 2019 to make a decision. So far in Ontario, the mayors for Oakville and Richmond Hill have stated that they have no interest allowing pot shops in their towns. The city of Ottawa is looking to the people to make that decision and once the results are in, they will be presented to council.

“It is expected that the newly-elected City Council in Ottawa will consider the issue of cannabis retail stores later this year, at a date to be determined,” said Anthony Di Monte, general manager of emergency and protective services in an email.

Previously, Mayor Jim Watson has stated that he doesn’t think opting out of the shops is “realistic” but did say that the city is going to consult with residents, a promise being followed through on with this survey.

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The city says it will be using the survey results to help inform council as it considers whether to allow the stores to operate in Ottawa.

If the city does opt out of having stores within its boundaries, residents will still be able to go to stores outside the city limits, such as Gatineau, Que.

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