Support Bill 29 and Amend the Cannabis License Act

TORONTO, ON - On Wednesday, November 10, 2021, residents and Business Improvement Area advocates joined Member of Provincial Parliament Marit Stiles (Davenport), and Councillors Paula Fletcher (Ward 14, Toronto-Danforth) and Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 13, Toronto Centre) in their support of Bill 29, An Act to Amend the Cannabis Licence Act and Councillor Wong-Tam’s Member Motion in support, seconded by Councillor Fletcher.

Toronto has experienced exorbitant growth as Cannabis stores line our main streets. Since legalization, over 1,000 storefronts have opened across Ontario with the largest concentration in Toronto. Steadily, empty storefronts are being leased by Cannabis retailers in close proximity to one another.

In order to ensure a thriving economy and diverse retail, the Province must empower municipalities in the licencing process. There is an existing mechanism that allows Municipalities to give feedback on the sale of controlled substances. Currently, to serve/sell alcohol in Toronto you need a liquor licence from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. You may also need documentation from the City to support your application to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario for certain licences. This process could and should apply to cannabis retailers as well.

The Cannabis industry is still stabilizing and now is the opportunity to help regulate, and support our local businesses, especially as we recover from COVID-19. We can align Cannabis with other legal substances and create stronger retail opportunities with less competition and equitable access across Ontario.

You can watch the full press conference at https://youtu.be/7AUJAMxW08g.

"Easy access to legal, recreational cannabis is a good thing - but a flood of new cannabis retail licenses is crowding out smaller, independent sellers and leaving our main streets without the diverse range of shops and services that make them great places to live, work and shop. It's long past time we gave municipalities - with their planning expertise and local knowledge - a voice in the cannabis licensing process." - Marit Stiles, Member of Provincial Parliament, Davenport

“We want to see a variety of shops. We want to see a variety of retailers. In order for us to be a very competitive city, we need to have our main streets thrive. And at this point in time, what we're seeing is just too many stores, cannabis retailers, that are opening up in close proximity to one another. Cannabis is a legal and controlled substance. AGCO is a great place for us to add controls as to where these retailers can go.” - Kristyn Wong-Tam, Councillor Ward 13, Toronto Centre

"I've heard from many residents concerned about the number of cannabis stores opening. They're not opposed to legalized cannabis, they're worried about the vibrancy and diversity of their neighbourhoods. There are 26 cannabis retail stores approved by the AGCO in Ward 14 alone and 8 more waiting for approval. That's 34 stores selling the same type of products in just one ward. The impacts at the local level are becoming more clear and communities need greater say in this process." – Councillor Paula Fletcher, Ward 14, Toronto-Danforth

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