The City of Ottawa will allow private businesses licensed to sell legal recreational marijuana to open their doors in Ottawa starting this spring, city council decided unanimously after nearly five hours of discussion on Thursday.
The much-anticipated decision came after councillors debated the pros and cons of opting into Ontario’s retail pot store model and heard from 10 public speakers during a rare, special meeting at city hall.
Generally speaking, most councillors agreed that banning cannabis stores in Ottawa wouldn’t make sense at a time when recreational weed is now legal in Canada. But many councillors, including Gloucester-South Nepean Coun. Carol Anne Meehan, remain unhappy with the fact that the city will have no control over how many stores will pop up in Ottawa and where they will be located.
Meehan implored councillors to opt out for the time being and wait to see how other municipalities handle the rollout before opting in. She argued Ottawa could also use the opportunity to join forces with other cities to fight for more provincial funding and municipal control over store locations.