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Mississauga Overturns Cannabis Store Ban

Mississauga City Council voted yesterday to approve a motion to lift its prohibition on cannabis retail stores and permit stores to be located in Ontario’s third largest city.

The motion was approved in an eight to four vote. A motion to defer the amendment was rejected in an eight to four vote.

The City Clerk for Mississauga now has three days to provide the Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) with written notice of the resolution within three business days of the passage of the resolution.

The City of Mississauga originally prohibited retail cannabis stores in the city on December 12, 2018, citing concerns around the lack of adequate municipal oversight on the location of retail cannabis stores in Mississauga and the ensuing risk of clustering; and a desire to seek better municipal oversight over cannabis retail store locations before opting-in.

Displacing the Ilegal Market

The decision to permit cannabis stores comes after a city report highlighted that Mississauga residents are “disproportionately” served by the illegal market in the absence of legal stores. Illicit cannabis stores have spread in Mississauga and the city is unable to effectively shut them down. Mississauga residents are forced to buy cannabis online in neighbouring cities or illegally in the city.

In response to today’s announcement, the Ontario Cannabis Store says it supports “this decision, which will provide residents of Ontario’s third-largest city with legal access to tested, traceable, safer cannabis products, while displacing the illegal market. This marks a major step forward as the cannabis industry continues to evolve within the legal framework.”

Raj Grover, President and CEO of High Tide, also showed his support: “I am thrilled that adults in Mississauga will soon be able to purchase cannabis from legal stores without having to leave their own city or resort to illegal and unregulated dispensaries or delivery services […] Being Ontario’s third largest city, the Mississauga market presents us with a lucrative revenue and growth opportunity for both High Tide and our Canna Cabana brand, given its size and scale.”

Omar Khan, Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer at High Tide, added: “Today’s vote is a victory for everyone who wants to drive out the sale of illegal, untested and non-age-gated cannabis within Mississauga and paves the way for new jobs and investment to come into the city.”

There are more than 1,700 legal stores across the province and the sector contributes $13.3 billion to Ontario’s GDP, per a recent Deloitte analysis cited in the Mississauga city staff report.

The Ontario Cannabis Store reports that the legal market has been steadily growing since 2018 and eating into illegal business. More than 50% of cannabis sales are now through the legal market, the OCS reports.

Among cities with a population of more than 50,000, the following are still opted out of Ontario’s legal cannabis store regulatory regime: Markham, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Oakville, Whitby, Newmarket, and Caledon.

Tags: AGCO (57), Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (15), Cannabis Regulations (101), Cannabis Retail (394), Mississauga (4), Ontario (27), Ontario Cannabis (67), Ontario Cannabis Store (76)