Municipalities set to make decisions on pot shops next week

A number of municipal councils in the region will be making decisions next week on whether to opt in or out for retail cannabis stores. 

St. Catharines Council will deal with the matter Monday and a staff report makes no recommendation, leaving the decision up to elected officials. 

Liberal MP Chris Bittle is scheduled to be at Monday's council meeting and says he's hoping to see the city opt in. "Cannabis is organized crimes number one product and if too many municipalities opt out, organized crime is going to continue to sell within communities, within St. Catharines so i'm going to attend and provide my opinion on the subject as to why St. Catharines should opt in." 

If elected officials opt in, municipalities will have little control over where the cannabis stores can locate. 

Provincial legislation on the matter prohibits municipalities from introducing zoning or licensing bylaw standards.

Niagara Falls Council is slated to deal with the matter at a meeting on Tuesday.  

Wainfleet and Niagara-on-the-Lake councils have both opted out. 

The Province has given municipalities until January 22nd to make their decisions on retail cannabis stores.