Brampton City Council is poised to make a decision on whether to allow cannabis stores in the city and residents continue to be divided on the issue.

The city hosted a town hall last Thursday giving residents the opportunity to ask questions and to express their concerns.

Back in November, the city conducted a survey asking residents for their opinion. The survey found that 54 per cent of participants strongly or somewhat support opting in while 40 per cent strongly or somewhat oppose retail stores. Six per cent were undecided.

Residents who attended the town hall had the opportunity to air out their grievances during the Q&A period, illustrating how divided the community is on the issue.

Residents voiced concerns about the lack of control the city would have in the process, health concerns, and the proximity of pot shops to schools. The province has said pot shops will have to be a minimum of 150 metres away from schools, but some residents feel it isn’t enough. The potential impact on youth was voiced as a prominent concern.

Those in favour of opting in say that by not allowing cannabis in the city, the city could be missing out on an economic opportunity and that not having retail stores wouldn’t stop people from accessing cannabis. One resident also pointed out that opting out could continue to put money into the local illegal market.

If it opts in, the city would receive a share of the $40 million the province has earmarked for participating municipalities. Brampton’s neighbours in Mississauga, Markham, Richmond Hill, Milton, and Oakville have all opted out so far, so it could mean residents from some of those cities would come to Brampton to purchase cannabis — putting money into Brampton’s economy.

“Brampton pays one of the highest property taxes, we can’t afford to miss out on this lucrative system,” said one resident. “Mississauga has opted out so have other neighboring municipalities, we could be a go-between for them.”

Because of a shortage of supply, the province will only allow 25 retail cannabis stores across Ontario and with so many neighbouring cities opting out it could prove to be even more economically fruitful for Brampton.

Back in December at their last meeting, council decided to defer the decision before they heard more from the public on the issue. City staff has been hosting in-person consultations, and residents also have the option to email their thoughts to cannabis@brampton.ca or by calling 311.

City council will make the decision at a special council meeting on Monday, January 21, which will be the last chance for the public to formally share opinions on the topic with Brampton City Council.

Comments

comments