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Monday, September 10, 2018

Interest In Owen Sound Pot Shops

Owen Sound | by Matt Hermiz  

There's business interest, but pot shop plans are on pause as City awaits more information.

The City of Owen Sound has seen some interest in setting up privately-run recreational marijuana stores.

Owen Sound Director of Community Services Pam Coulter says while inquiries from potential business owners have come in, municipal planning for pot legalization is largely on pause as it awaits more information from the province.

"We certainly have had inquiries from people but I think we're sort of at that chicken and egg stage where we don't have enough information to say, go ahead and sign a lease," Coulter says. "We're just not there yet."

Coulter says the city has been proactive in following the province's plans for the sale of recreational cannabis, which is set to become legal in Canada next month.

"In terms of land use planning, we're looking forward to seeing what sort of regulations the province is looking to put in place in terms of the retail stores," Coulter explains. "Are they going to suggest they should be set back a certain distance from what I would call a 'sensitive' land use? Or will they be looking to municipalities to add in to that?"

Coulter says the city has been advised the province will allow private retailers to operate stores with government licenses sometime in the spring, and municipalities will be given a one-time opt-out opportunity for allowing bricks-and-mortar marijuana stores.

However, Coulter notes the city has not yet been advised when the deadline is for a municipality to exercise its opt-out option.

Once more information does come from the Ontario government, Coulter says city staff will prepare a report for council to allow them to decide on Owen Sound's future when it comes to recreational cannabis sales.

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