As of October 17, 2018, cannabis was legalized across Canada. Each province has developed different programs in responses to that legislation. In addition to a carefully regulated online market through OCS.ca, Ontario is also allowing privately run retail locations to begin selling cannabis as early as April 1, 2019. While licenses have already been awarded by lottery through the AGCO for retail locations across Ontario, municipalities still have the ability to opt in or opt out of allowing those retail locations to operate within their municipalities.
In the City of Vaughan, we haven’t opted in OR out yet, but all municipalities have to make a decisionby Tuesday, January 22, 2019.
While some surrounding municipalities like Richmond Hill and Markham have opted out, several others have opted-in, including Toronto. (Full List available on AGCO’s website.) With Vaughan sharing a long border with the City of Toronto, I suspect that Vaughan will decide to opt-in and allow cannabis retail locations.

 

This is big news in Vaughan, especially because cannabis retail locations can affect property value. While this is a new legal industry for Canada, we can look to our neighbours to the south to try and predict what might happen in our housing industry. This article from March 2018 talks about Colorado’s housing values rising as a result of legalized marijuana; on average, the legalization of pot in Colorado created a 6% increase in housing values. That is certainly a good argument for opting-in!

 

On January 21, 2019, there is a Special Committee of the Whole meeting at Vaughan City Hall: “Residents will have the opportunity to share their thoughts with the Mayor and Members of Council about whether or not provincially licensed retail cannabis stores should be allowed to operate in the City of Vaughan.”

 

After the discussion, the Council will vote on whether or not Vaughan will allow retail locations.
 
This topic is very controversial, and I’m looking forward to sitting in on the meeting and hearing what residents have to say. Will we stand up and compete with Toronto for retail sales, or will we sit back and wait to see what happens like Richmond Hill?

 

What are your thoughts, questions, or concerns on this issue? Do you think Vaughan should opt-in or out?