One of the biggest barriers to legal weed that Ontarians face is the provincial law barring brick and mortar cannabis stores until April 2019. Leaving potential customers only one option when it comes to purchasing legal cannabis, that being the online OCS store.
In the months following legalization, the OCS was riddled with issues related to slow delivery times, wrong orders being shipped out and more recently, bugs and mold being found in orders. So when it was announced earlier in the year that brick and mortar stores would be coming to Ontario, you would think most people would be happy about it.
It turns out that isn't the case in Brampton, Ontario. Some Brampton residents have such strong opinions on the matter that they are aiming to keep their city as a "dry zone" when April 2019 arrives.
Charmaine Williams, a city councillor for Wards 7 and 8 in Brampton has started a campaign called "Not In Our Neighbourhood" in an effort to ban private retail cannabis stores from popping up in the city. Telling CBC, "I know it's not cool to say so, but Brampton is known as the Flower City and we don't need weed in our garden."
Williams made the campaign after claiming she has received a significant amount of feedback from locals who are opposed to the idea of brick and mortar pot stores. She told CBC, as a result, she has "come to the conclusion that Brampton would be better off without marijuana stores on every corner." Williams is now going door to door in Wards 7 and 8, offering homeowners their own campaign signs to display on their front lawns.
As of now, the campaign consists of a petition, website and lawn signs that are popping up throughout Brampton that display the campaign logo and website.
While it may seem as if all of this campaigning will fall on deaf ears, cities actually reserve the right to opt out of the brick and mortar stores so long as it's before January 22nd, 2019, as detailed in the Cannabis Licence Act 2018.
Of course, not everybody agrees with William's perspective. Lisa Campbell, the chair of the Ontario Cannabis and Consumer Alliance spoke with CBC saying some cities are "stuck in the stigma of the old black market."
Campbell notes that the future stores can generate "huge tax revenue" and will replace the black market with "clean and safe" stores. She mentions that if Brampton decides to not give pot shops the go-ahead, locals will still find a way to get cannabis by either ordering it through the OCS or just driving to a different city to get it.
Clearly, with such divided opinions, locals will have to wait until January to see what the fate of local pot shops in Brampton will be.
Source: CBC News