Brampton City Council voted Monday night at a special meeting to opt in and allow private retail cannabis stores in the city, just hours ahead of the province’s January 22 deadline.

A motion was brought forward by Rowena Santos (Ward 1-5) and seconded by Mayor Patrick Brown to opt in.

Brampton’s decision to opt in will guarantee the city anywhere between $742,000 and $2.9 million depending on how many other municipalities decide to opt in.

The vote wasn’t unanimous: Councillors Dhillon and Singh (Ward 9-10), along with Councillor Charmaine Williams (Ward 7-8) voted to opt out. Williams has been running a campaign since December against pot shops in the city.

Councillor Dhillon raised concerns about the lack of control Brampton and other municipalities have in the process. “Until they give us more controls, we don’t know if there will be a thousand shops here or one shop. We don’t know what this province can do.”

The majority of city council has remained relatively tight-lipped to allow the city to actively consult with the public the past couple of months.

There was a second motion which included a number of clauses to work closely with the province moving forward to ensure Brampton has its say in the process.

This second motion passed unanimously and asks that the city lobby for its proper portion of funding. 15 per cent of the funds given to each municipality is earmarked for policing, and since Mississauga has opted out Brampton will ask for a larger portion.

“We can still advocate for more control and our fair share regardless. The decision to opt in now guarantees us a larger share of the pie,” said Councillor Rowena Santos.

Councillors also voted to ask that the province allow Brampton further regulatory authority to restrict exactly where cannabis stores will be located. Currently, the province has said stores must be at least 150 meters from schools, and the city is asking for further control.

The city also wants to amend a bylaw to restrict exactly where cannabis can be used in public. It could restrict usage in public areas like parks, trails, libraries, daycares, and other places.

Brampton launched public consultation back in November and residents have remained divided on whether to opt in or not. A survey conducted by the city 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.

Since then the city has conducted multiple in-person consultations and town halls, and has been taking feedback through email. About 15 residents delegated at the special meeting on Monday, some for, and some against opting in.

Brampton joins other cities like Toronto, Guelph and Ottawa in opting in. Mississauga, Markham and a number of other GTA municipalities have opted out.