By Cecilia Nasmith
The Town of Cobourg wants residents' input on the possibility of opting out of allowing recreational-cannabis stores to operate within municipal boundaries.
A press release from the town notes that, while the purchase and use of cannabis for recreational purposes is now legal, it is so far only legal in Ontario to make such a purchase on-line through the Ontario Cannabis Store.
Looking ahead to the phase-in of physical retail outlets, Ontario is offering its 444 municipalities a one-time opportunity to opt out of hosting these stores within their boundaries. Councils that opt out can also opt back in at a later date.
The opt-out decision deadline is Jan. 22. Otherwise, stores will be allowed to open in April.
In order to decide the question for the town, Cobourg is seeking input to help council make this important decision, and the communications department has put together a strategic communications and engagement plan committed to engaging and informing Cobourg citizens.
Residents are invited to visit the town's Cannabis Retail Plan webpage, where information will be updated regularly. Meanwhile, a cannabis survey will be on-line at www.cobourg.ca until Jan 2. Similarly, Jan. 2 is the deadline for receiving e-mail feedback at email@example.com.
The town is also hosting a Dec. 17 public-information session that starts at 6 p.m. in council chambers, third floor west at Victoria Hall (55 King St. W.).
The survey will seek input on opting out entirely or, alternatively, allowing such retail operations only in commercial-retail-zoned areas of the town. The results of the survey will not be the ultimate determinant, but will be included in a staff report for councillors when the question is put to a vote.
The new council should have the report in time for its Jan. 7 committee-of-the-whole meeting, and their vote on Jan. 14 should be in ample time for provincial deadlines.