On paper, the City of London can just say no to allowing privately-run retail marijuana stores in the city. But on a practical level, two councillors say opting out and effectively banning legal pot shops in London is a bad idea.
In a report prepared for the Protective Services Committee, Rosanna Wilcox, the city’s director of economic innovation, makes it clear that opting out means forgoing a significant share of the revenue.
The province has announced plans to share $40 million in pot revenue with municipalities over the next year to cover increased administrative and policing costs.
Here’s the break down:
- $10 million is earmarked for “unforeseen circumstances” related to cannabis legalization. This would be prioritized to communities that say yes to pot shops.
- An initial payment of $15 million has already been allocated on a per-household basis. London’s share of that is $450,991.
- After Jan. 22, Ontario communities that say yes to retail stores will split an additional $15 million, with their share based on a per-household basis.
- Municipalities that opt in will be eligible for a 50 per cent share of the retail pot revenue that exceeds $100 million in the first two years following legalization.
- Municipalities that opt out will only get $5,000.
Under rules laid out by the provincial government, municipalities have until Jan. 22 to say whether or not they will ban marijuana retailers.
If a municipality opts out, they can opt back in at any time. However, once they opt in, there’s no going back to a ban.