Mississauga’s delay in legalizing cannabis could be ‘advantageous’ to new pot shops - Toronto - Read of Green
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Mississauga’s delay in legalizing cannabis could be ‘advantageous’ to new pot shops – Toronto



Source: Marijuana Moment

Barely two weeks after Mississauga councillors reversed a long-standing decision and decided to allow legal cannabis stores to operate, requests to do business have started to flow in.

Until April 19, Mississauga was the largest city in Ontario to ban legal cannabis stores, a decision it made in 2018. After a tense debate, councillors voted eight to four to lift the ban.

That decision isn’t a case of better late than never, some say — it is something worth waiting for.

“I think it’s actually advantageous,” Ryan Dymond, president of Pop’s Cannabis Co., told Global News.

“I think we’re better now than where we were (in 2018). We know how to sort of resonate with the communities, we understand the stigmas.”

Pop’s Cannabis already submitted two applications to open stores in Mississauga, and is preparing a third.

According to posting on the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s website, five stores — including the two from Pop’s — are in the early stages of applying. Paperwork is underway to open stores on Bloor Street East, Dundas Street West, North Service Road, Truscott Drive and Southdown Drive.

Four of the stores are “in progress” while the fifth — a Pop’s Cannabis Co. shop — will be open to public consultation until May 16.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said she was in favour of the applications. She was a vocal advocate to reverse council’s weed ban and voted in favour last month.

“In addition to supporting jobs and growing our economy, retail cannabis stores will progressively help stamp out the illegal market and ensure that residents can easily access safe, regulated products,” Crombie’s office said in a statement sent to Global News.

Dymond said he and his colleagues had been looking for Mississauga for some time, waiting for elected officials to make the call.

“I would think that we’ve all been anxiously waiting … we’ve been keeping a close eye on it for sure,” he said.

“The market in itself is vast enough that I think it can support multiple locations … and it doesn’t seem to be (as) saturated (as it could be). When legalization first occurred, it was just a mad dash to open as many shops as we possibly could.”

For Dymond, Mississauga presents something of a tonic to the early days of legalization — and a chance not to repeat previous mistakes. “There’s been a lot of lessons learned, us included,” he said.

The City of Mississauga said it had no formal role in the application process, including around location or zoning rules for stores.

That was a longstanding concern for Mississauga councillors who originally banned the stores, hoping they could force the province to update its regulations to give cities more control of where they were located.

With no sign of concessions from Queen’s Park over the past half-a-decade, however, councillors admitted the illegal market was flourishing, in part because of their decision.

“We are not addressing the black market whatsoever. In fact, I have to believe we are promoting the black market by not allowing legal shops to open,” Crombie said during a debate on the topic on April 12.

The city’s decision to ban legal stores until halfway through April confused residents, one councillor claimed.

“A lot of Mississauga residents now assume these illegal stores are legal because they’re not in the weeds (of) did we opt in, did we not opt in,” Coun. Dipika Damerla said.

Lifting the ban on legal stores could lead help that confusion to dissipate.

“I think we would just encourage everyone to look for the authorized Ontario decal — that’s really what dictates legalization so people understand that it is legalized recreational cannabis,” Dymond said.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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