Calgary and Toronto couldn’t be more different when it comes to how ready they are for recreational cannabis to become legal on Oct. 17.
In Calgary, city officials have approved more than 100 sites for cannabis shops. The Ontario provincial government’s recent U-turn on private marijuana sales has left municipal planners in Toronto in the dark and scrambling to adapt to the new regime that is not yet set in stone.
Last week, Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative government unveiled its plans to allow the private sector to own retail stores and said shops would open by April. But the announcement was light on details, particularly about the role municipalities will play in deciding where stores can be located.
“We’re not really clear on what [it’s] going to look like,” Tracey Cook, the City of Toronto’s executive director of municipal licensing standards, said on Tuesday at an event hosted by The Globe and Mail in Toronto.
“Even though the province indicated it’s going to go with a private model, there are a variety of private models that would then dictate a different municipal response. The province may determine that only those who are a licensed pharmacy can sell – that’s a private retail model.”