Article by Michelle Ruby, Brantford Expositor
Three applications have been made for proposed cannabis retail stores in Brantford.
If approved, they would be the first in the city.
According to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, two applications are “in progress,” which means the commission has received the application and the process is underway. Those applications are for Tokyo Smoke, with a proposed location in Brantford Commons at 290 King George Rd., Unit K5; and for Seven Point at 10 Stanley St.
Public notice ended Tuesday for a third application, Miss Jones, at 185 King George Rd., Suite B5.
There is a 15-day public notice period for proposed cannabis stores, a requirement for an applicant to receive a retail store authorization. During that time, a municipality or its residents can write a submission to the commission if it’s felt the proposed store isn’t in the public interest as set out in the regulations under the Cannabis Licence Act. That includes protecting public health and safety; protecting youth and restricting their access to cannabis; and preventing illicit activities in relation to cannabis.
Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis said the city has received notice of applications from Seven Point and Miss Jones and has no objections based the city’s policy for proposed cannabis retail stores. Davis said he isn’t aware of the city receiving official notification of the application for Tokyo Smoke.
Although a municipality and its citizens are allowed to weigh in on an application, negative comments don’t necessarily mean it won’t be approved.
“This is not a veto power, only an opportunity to comment, which the AGCO may or may not consider when deciding to approve an application,” said Davis.
Earlier this year, the city created a policy meant to give it some control over where cannabis stores can be located.
Under the policy, the city only will object to an application if the proposed location isn’t in an area zoned retail; or the location is within 150 metres of a “sensitive use,” including the Bell Homestead on Tutela Heights Road, Boys and Girls Club on Edge Street, community centres, day nurseries, EarlyON centres, libraries, nursing homes and retirement homes, programmed park facilities, public and private schools and the downtown YMCA.
In addition, the policy recommends retail cannabis stores should have a minimum separation distance of 150 metres from one another to prevent clustering
Davis said he’s unsure of the timeline for approval of new retail cannabis stores by the AGCO but, because the stores aren’t considered by the province to be essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, “even if the application is approved a retail outlet can’t open until the provincial restrictions on non-essential businesses is either lifted or amended.”
According to its website, Tokyo Smoke has 18 stores, of which 12 are in Ontario, including in Cambridge and Hamilton. There are six stores in Manitoba.
In addition to Brantford, Miss Jones also has applied for licences to open retail cannabis stores in Orillia, Barrie, North Bay and Toronto.
After voting in January 2019 to temporarily “opt out” of allowing cannabis stores to operate in the city, council voted early this year to opt in.