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Oshawa council green lights private cannabis shops

During Thursday night's meeting at city hall, Oshawa council voted to allow private cannabis retail stores to run in the city.
During Thursday night's meeting at city hall, Oshawa council voted to allow private cannabis retail stores to run in the city. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Oshawa council has high expectations for how local cannabis stores could benefit the city after it voted to host pot shops.

At a special meeting at city hall Thursday night, council voted 7-4 in favour of allowing private retail cannabis stores in Oshawa, Ont., instead of the other option on the table — opting out, or prohibiting, this type of business in the city.

READ MORE: Staff report recommends Kitchener opt in on hosting cannabis shops

Durham-based cannabis consultant Marko Ivancicevic is crossing his fingers that he’ll be able to open his own cannabis shop in Oshawa. He says he has submitted his expression of interest to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which regulates Ontario’s retail cannabis outlets and will be randomly picking the winning applicants Friday.

“[I’m] very excited,” said Ivancicevic. “To finally have the ability to potentially open a store in what I see as my home is a great feeling to have.”

READ MORE: Hamilton police continue crackdown on illegal cannabis dispensaries

Global News reached out to Oshawa’s mayor, Dan Carter, on the council decision, but he was unavailable for an interview.

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In deciding which option to choose, council considered the results of a recent city survey, in which 62 per cent of people said ‘yes’ to hosting cannabis stores in the city. Many said the benefits include economic opportunities and job creation, according to a public report.

The nearly 40 per cent of people who shot down the idea of having private cannabis stores in Oshawa cited reasons such as increased access to cannabis by youth and negative impacts on the city’s reputation.