April 22, 2019 - Municipal Authorities Slow To Respond to Legalization of Cannabis

Back in 1999, Canada began the journey toward cannabis legalization.  A number of Court rulings prompted the formulation of regulations that initially allowed access to medical marijuana and then eventually to legalization of recreational cannabis use.  The milestones in the legalization of cannabis are summarized here Events in the History of Cannabis  This document includes links to the Cannabis Act and the Cannabis Regulations.

Unfortunately many Municipalities failed to adequately address this issue and the impact that it would have on their communities.  They lacked understanding of the legislation and thus failed to the implement appropriate changes to their comprehensive zoning bylaws. The result was adverse impact on residents and an attitude of learned helplessness among Council members.

In recent years citizens began seeing greenhouses or Quonset huts sprouting up across their Townships and Municipalities.  These grow-ops appeared in an uncontrolled fashion in response to the demand for medical marijuana.  It is particularly bothersome when these grow-ops appear next door to homes. An example is given here Greenhouses Causing A Stink

Another problem is the proliferation of “Pot Houses” where individuals with medical cannabis licenses are “legally” growing hundreds of plants in a private residence.  Not only does this cause irrevocable damage to the homes, it also adversely impacts neighbours.  Since these Pot Houses are federally licensed by Health Canada, local councils incorrectly claim that “their hands are tied”.

Last but not least is the location of cannabis production facilities.  If Councils don’t have an adequate understanding of these facilities, Townships and Municipalities will be faced with these facilities popping up in inappropriate locations.  An example of such a poor choice is the Sharpshooter proposal for a production facility in the Hamlet of Lakeport. Proposed Cannabis Production Facility In Lakeport

The reality is that Townships and Municipalities do in fact have the power and the authority to control how these things are handled in their jurisdiction.  Sadly they have failed to anticipate these adverse impacts and have failed to act in preparing appropriate legislation.  The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has produced a Municipal Guide to Cannabis Legislation that lays out options for the management of Cannabis in their jurisdictions.  You can read the document here Municipal Guide to Cannabis Legalization

January 22, 2019 - Brighton and Alnwick/Haldimand Vote To Allow Cannabis Retail Outlets

At a Council meeting held on January 17, 2019 Alnwick/Haldimand voted unanimously to approve retail cannabis stores in the Township.  The Municipality of Brighton did likewise on January 21, 2019 but there was more voiced opposition.  Read John Campbell's article about the Brighton decision here John Campbell - Brighton Cannabis Retail Story

January 8, 2019 - Cramahe Council Votes to Allow Cannabis Retail Outlets in the Township

Cramahe Council has voted to allow private recreational cannabis retail stores in the municipality.  Council made its decision after receiving a report from compliance co-ordinator Holly Grant recommending the municipality opt in.  Further details are available in this article by John Campbell Cramahe Accepts Cannabis Retail Outlets


Recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada on October 17, 2018 by the Federal Government. In Ontario, the Provincial Government has put rules in place to keep cannabis out of the hands of children and youth, keep roads safe and combat the illegal market. As a result Ontario now has laws in place about how, where and who can buy and possess cannabis in the province. The government is also moving forward with a regulated private retail model for cannabis that would launch by April 1, 2019.

Backgrounder on the Legalization of Cannabis

Currently Municipalities are facing the question of whether to "Op-In" or Opt-Out with respect to allowing retail cannabis outlets in their jurisdictions. Details about the regulatory body for retail outlets and the decisions facing Municipalities can be found here

Options for Private Retails Outlets

The following is a summary sheet provided by Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) on regulatory framework for setting up a Retail Cannabis Outlet

Cannabis Retail Framework

A number of documents have been published to help residents understand the issue of cannabis and help them communicate key aspects to their children.  This document was produced by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and describes what Parents and Guardians should know about the topic.

CAMH Information on Cannabis

This information was provided by Health Canada and and is designed to help parents talk to teenagers about cannabis.  It includes a section on the slang words for cannabis.

Health Canada Information for Talking With Teenagers