LSN_ USA_Canada_Flages          Lake Superior News   Lake Superor Regional News

                   Visit our Old website

Thunder Bay Drug Strategy
Survey Polls Residents
about Cannabis Retail Stores in the City

Thunder Bay Drug Strategy Committee  Lake Superior News
#LSN_Health

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO  - December 9.   (LSN)  The City of Thunder Bay Drug Strategy Committee made up of over 30 health agencies and community groups invites residents to share their input through an online survey about the future of cannabis retail in the City and whether or not allowing bricks-and-mortar stores would receive support from the community.

Municipalities have a one-time window to make a decision about whether to opt out of allowing private sector stores within the boundaries of the community. Otherwise, it is an automatic opt in that could see cannabis stores opening as early as April 1, 2019.

 

The survey results, along with key recommendations gathered, will be compiled into a report to be presented to City Council Jan. 14.

 

  • City Council must pass a resolution to opt out and provide it to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario by Jan. 22, 2019. 

  • City Council can reverse their decision at a later date, but will then be unable to opt out in the future.

  • If City Council opts out, no cannabis retail store authorizations will be issued in Thunder Bay, therefore there will be no legal cannabis storefronts in the city.

  • Individuals who are 19 years of age and older will be able to continue to legally purchase recreational cannabis through the Ontario Cannabis Store online, or they can purchase cannabis at a retail store in a community that has not opted out.

  • Initial funding from the province will be distributed to municipalities in January 2019 on a per-household basis. The City of Thunder Bay is expected to receive at least $129,922. If City Council opts out, the second installment in March 2019 will be capped at $5,000. The municipality will only be able to use these funds for costs related to the transition of legalization (i.e., enforcement, emergency services, etc.).

  • If City Council opts out, the municipality would not be eligible to receive a share in the federal excise duty.

  • The province has set aside $10 million in funding for “unforeseen circumstances” and priority to access these funds would go to municipalities that have not opted out by the Jan. 22, 2019 deadline.

  • City Council must pass a resolution to opt out and provide it to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario by Jan. 22, 2019. 
  • City Council can reverse their decision at a later date, but will then be unable to opt out in the future.
  • If City Council opts out, no cannabis retail store authorizations will be issued in Thunder Bay, therefore there will be no legal cannabis storefronts in the city.
  • Individuals who are 19 years of age and older will be able to continue to legally purchase recreational cannabis through the Ontario Cannabis Store online, or they can purchase cannabis at a retail store in a community that has not opted out.

  • Initial funding from the province will be distributed to municipalities in January 2019 on a per-household basis. The City of Thunder Bay is expected to receive at least $129,922. If City Council opts out, the second installment in March 2019 will be capped at $5,000. The municipality will only be able to use these funds for costs related to the transition of legalization (i.e., enforcement, emergency services, etc.).
  • If City Council opts out, the municipality would not be eligible to receive a share in the federal excise duty.
  • The province has set aside $10 million in funding for “unforeseen circumstances” and priority to access these funds would go to municipalities that have not opted out by the Jan. 22, 2019 deadline.

 

 

 Health Benefits / Health Problems 

  • Effects on Children  
  • Effects on Families
  • Effects on Neigbojurhood Crime 

- 30 -

Have Your Say - Take the Survey 

 

Committee of the Whole – Meeting Date 12/17/2018

FIRST REPORTS
Permitting Cannabis Retail Storefronts in Thunder Bay
Report No. 165/2018 (City Manager's Office) providing information relative to City Council's decision on whether to opt-out of permitting private cannabis retail store locations within the City.
This report is being introduced as a 'first report' to allow Committee of the Whole and the general public time to consider the implications of the report before the following recommendations are considered by Committee of the Whole on January 14, 2019.

 

Summary of Consultations with City Departments, Divisions, and Committees

Department/ Position Reasons Division/ Committee Community      Opt-in

  • As the Regulations only permit private retail to occur in Economic stand-alone spaces, permitting private retail would Development potentially result in occupation of vacant retail spaces Commission 
  • Increased employment opportunities 
  • Increased tourism impacts anticipated by American border state visitors 
  • Opportunity for increased tax revenues 
  • \The negative effects of legalized cannabis will still be present with or without the retail sales component

Emergency Medical Services  Opt-in

  • Currently, when responding to calls, EMS has no way of Medical determining the true ingredients of what an individual may Services have ingested; should the City permit retail locations, there will be some controls in place to aid EMS in determining what the individual has taken if it was purchased from a retail location 
  • It is anticipated that the law will be expanded to include the legalization of edible products; once this occurs, EMS expects to see a rise in calls related to ingestion by children and the elderly, having complete information as to what was ingested will aid EMS in providing proper care and treatment 
  • EMS anticipates that there will be an increased call demand, but that additional funds will be allocated by the Province to meet this increased demand

Finance Opt-in

  • Permitting private retail will create an additional revenue source for the Municipality 
  • Private retail will build a commercial property tax base as retail stores are opened 
  • There is a potential positive impact for tourism and the restaurant industry

Thunder Bay Drug Strategy  Opt-in

  • By permitting private cannabis retail, the municipality will Drug have access to increased funding which will aid in off-setting Strategy the anticipated costs associated with legalization 
  • Permitting private retail will improve access for individuals who do not have access to legal cannabis through the online marketplace, reducing the likelihood that they will purchase through the illicit market
  • The Regulations allude to the need for staff to receive training, meaning they will be able to provide patrons with information and guidance regarding consumption and associated risks, providing a further opportunity for public health education 
  • Permitting retail stores would result in increased and improved access to the legal cannabis market, creating the opportunity for relationships to develop for the purposes of health promotion and community safety

Tourism  Opt-in 

  • Tourism anticipates that the City will see an increase in Thunder Bay tourism from the United States by individuals seeking to partake 
  • Increased tourism in the City would result in increased spending on accommodation, culinary and retail
  •  Increased tourism would also result in an increase in job opportunities in the

City Building Neutral

  • Permitting storefronts would provide residents with an Services accessible supply of cannabis making it less likely that individuals will grow more than the permitted four cannabis plants per household

Human Resources &  Corporate Safety Neutral 

  • The services provided by Human Resources & Corporate Resources & Safety would not likely be affected by this decision. Corporate Safety

Licensing & Municipal Law Enforcement Neutral 

  • Under the current legislation,  Enforcement Officers do not have the authority to deal with potential offences concerning smoking of cannabis, these instances are viewed by the division as analogous to public intoxication and thus policing matters 
  • Regardless of the decision made, the impact on their roles and responsibilities will be minimal unless council makes changes to the enforcement roles & responsibilities of this division, beyond current service levels and activities (ie. Including cannabis in smoking by-law, requiring service-hour schedule changes or greater roles toward illegal Cannabis activities)

Parks & Neutral 

  • Permitting retail stores would provide the community with Open Spaces more opportunity to purchase legal cannabis, reducing the amount of illicit sales potentially occurring in parks
  •  Under the current legislation, the Municipality does not have the authority to impose buffer zones between cannabis retail locations and Parks space; this may result in negative impacts for Parks spaces which may lead to an increase in complaints which the Department currently lacks the additional tools and enforcement options to mitigate 
  • Should retail locations result in an overall increase in public use of cannabis, then there is likely to be an overall negative impact on Parks spaces, including nuisance complaints and negative impacts on Parks activities Planning Neutral  Neither the Act nor the Regulations define retail store, nor do Services they indicate whether or not the Province will have any regard for the City’s zoning By-law which regulates the location of retail stores  Should the City permit private retail, it will be necessary to determine how it will proceed in submitting comments on applications for Retail Store Authorizations 

Planning Services  Neutral  

  • Neither the Act nor the Regulations define retail store, nor dos they indicate whether or not the Province will have any regard for the City’s zoning By-law which regulates the location of retail stores
  • Should the City permit private retail, it will be necessary to determine how it will proceed in submitting comments on applications for Retail Store Authorizations
  • If Planning Services is to be involved in the review of applications or formulating the City’s response, there will be implications for the department’s resources and budget 
  • It is anticipated that should the City allow private retail, Planning Services staff will see an increase in general inquiries about where cannabis retail is permitted

Recreation & Culture  Neutral

  • The Division’s primary concern rests with the location of Culture storefronts, which it anticipates will be addressed under the Regulations and the AGCO retail site location approval process

Thunder Bay District Health Unit Neutral

  • See value of an accessible retail system which provides District regulated and controlled cannabis products through Health Unit storefronts to:
    • o enable residents to bypass the illegal market and the associated risks;
    • o allow marginalized groups/individuals unable to purchase regulated cannabis products on-line to access to regulated products; o offer increased point-of-sale education on responsible use;
    • o potentially reduce stigma associated with cannabis use resulting in more help-seeking 
  • There are also downsides to permitting cannabis retail outlets:
    • o It is problematic that municipalities cannot use licensing or land-use by-laws to control the placement and number of cannabis outlets while evidence links higher outlet density and proximity to youth facilities, low socio-economic status neighbourhoods and other substance retail outlets to increased consumption and increased harms.
    • o AGCO criteria for refusing store authorization based on input by residents of the municipality within the 15 day window is unclear
  •  Ideally, a balance would be struck between making retail outlets available, but limiting their density and locating away from venues vulnerable populations use. On-going advocacy for a retail framework with increased municipal influence on outlet location, density, hours, and marketing is needed to help mitigate harms.

Thunder Bay  Fire Rescue Neutral

  • Retail locations will be required to comply with the Fire Fire Rescue Code; the Department will conduct a risk assessment and determine the frequency with which inspections will need to take place and unless unexpected concerns are identified, inspections will be conducted on a “request and complaint” basis 
  • There is possible concern regarding buildings being altered for production beyond the four plants permitted under the legislation, this will be monitored and enforcement measures will be taken if necessary  The Department anticipates that allowing private retail will result in increased fire risk, but that the risk will be relatively easy to address

Transit Services Neutral 

Transit Services has existing policies and procedures for Services dealing with intoxicated passengers and these same policies and procedures will apply to those who are intoxicated by cannabis 

Regarding advertising on Transit vehicles and public furniture, the Transit Advertising Guidelines will need to be updated to ensure that the City will not be found in violation of the law surrounding the advertising of cannabis

Thunder Bay Police  Opt-out

Without increased funding and additional officers, the Police Service enforcement and illegal cannabis supplies and storefronts will be unmanageable 

It is anticipated that storefronts will result in an increase in illicit drug sales as the Province’s wholesale model will not be able to keep up with demand; this will result in private retailers purchasing from illegal entities in order to supply their customers 

In the event that the City decides to opt-in to permitting cannabis retail, the police would like to see efforts being made to develop an internal policy regarding retail store authorizations which reflects the unique concerns and sensitive areas of the

                       

Subscribe to Lake Superior mailing list to get the latest news, updates and special offers delivered directly to your inbox weekly 

*indicates required
Email Format

We will not share your information with other organizations