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Recreational Cannabis Legalization


Can the City regulate the location of cannabis stores?

The provincial government’s Bill 36, Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act, 2018 would make the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario the licensing authority for private cannabis retail stores. Under the provincial legislation, the City cannot regulate the location of Cannabis stores. The Cannabis Licence Act, 2018, section 42(2) states that the City’s ability to pass a by-law under the Planning Act, such as a land use regulation or zoning by-law, does not include the authority to pass a by-law that would regulate based on a use of land, a building or a structure for the sale of cannabis.
The Association of Municipalities of Ontario is seeking clarification on municipal zoning by-law implications – whether cannabis stores will have to follow municipal zoning for commercial retail land uses, or whether they are exempt from the municipal zoning by-laws.


Can residents appeal a proposed location of a cannabis store?

The provincial government’s Bill 36 states that the Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario must consider, among other things, the public interest, having regard to the needs and wishes of the residents of the municipality. The proposed legislation would allow for public notice of an application for a cannabis retail store and an opportunity to make written submissions. Written submissions must be made no later than 15 days after the public notice is first given. The provincial government’s Licence Appeal Tribunal would be authorized to adjudicate appeals relating to cannabis retail store licences, similar to its process for alcohol licences.


Can the City prohibit cannabis stores from being located in the municipality?

The provincial government is allowing municipalities to “opt out” by passing a resolution by January 22, 2019 to prohibit cannabis retail stores from being located in the municipality. If a municipality decides to opt out, it could then choose to lift the prohibition through a subsequent motion, but that decision would be final – the municipality would not be able to continue to go back and forth between allowing and prohibiting cannabis retail stores. Even if a municipality prohibits cannabis retail stores from being located in the municipality, cannabis use would remain legal in the municipality under federal and provincial laws and the online sale of cannabis would continue to take place through the provincial government’s online retailer.


Are there restrictions on where a cannabis retail store can be located?

The Cannabis Licence Act, 2018, would set a minimum distance that a cannabis retail store must be located away from a school as well as “any other prescribed land use.”


Will cannabis be sold in the same places as tobacco, such as convenience stores?

The proposed provincial legislation requires that only cannabis and any other things that may be specified by regulations made under the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018, may be sold in a cannabis retail store.


Where will people be allowed to smoke cannabis?

The provincial government is making the regulations on where people can use cannabis the same as the regulations that are in place for using tobacco under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. For example, it is illegal to smoke or hold lighted tobacco or cannabis on and within 20 metres of a children’s playground, publicly owned sport field or sport surface, such as a basketball court, baseball field, soccer pitch, ice rink, splash pad or beach volleyball court; and it is illegal to smoke or hold lighted tobacco or cannabis on public or private school property as well as in any common areas of condos, apartment buildings or college and university residences. The Smoke-Free Ontario Act does allow a municipality to further restrict where people can smoke cannabis.


Where will people be allowed to smoke cannabis in Peterborough?

The City’s by-law only currently deals with the smoking of medical cannabis and tobacco products. Staff anticipates, in consultation with stakeholders, including Peterborough Public Health, that revisions will be necessary to regulate the smoking of recreational cannabis.


Can the City regulate cannabis retail stores through its business licensing by-law?

No. The Cannabis Licence Act, 2018, section 42(1) states that the authority to pass a business licensing by-law under the Municipal Act, 2001, or under the Toronto Act, 2006, does not include the authority to pass a by-law for licensing the sale of cannabis or for other authorizations that are provided under the Cannabis Licence Act.


Who will be enforcing the new cannabis laws?

The enforcement will largely fall to police officers and public health units, with public health as the enforcement agency for the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

For further information, please contact the undersigned:
Brendan Wedley
Manager of Communication Services
City of Peterborough
500 George Street North
Peterborough, ON K9H 3R9
705-742-7777, ext. 1636
bwedley@peterborough.ca