Amherstburg Seeking Public Input As Pot Legalization Quickly Approaches

Amherstburg wants to hear from its residents when it comes to setting up a cannabis shop in town.

A public meeting is being organized with the use of recreational marijuana set to become legal next month.

The town's Manager of Licensing and Enforcement, Nicole Rubli, says there are several factors to consider including a strain on bylaw enforcement.

"There's an anticipated impact as it relates to nuisances and odours. There will be some additional enforcement required, but a lot of it is public education," she says. "Once we educate the residents on the new legislation, and the health unit will be instrumental as well in assisting us in that public consultation. So I feel that will assist."

Rubli says the municipality has the option to opt-out of allowing pot stores.

"We want to ensure that we're touching as many residents as we can to see what the town residents want and feel about cannabis storefronts," says Rubli. "Each municipality will have the opt-out option. The province will outline the timeline that we can opt-in or opt-out."

To spearhead public consultations, a cannabis task force has been formed comprised of town officials along with police and fire representatives.

Rubli says interest is stirring over the issue.

"I've only been approached by interested parties in actually running a retail store and I've also been asked about lounges. But I do anticipate, come October 17, we're going to have the residents coming when the actual legislation is in effect," says Rubli.

As of October 17, consumers 19 or older will be able to purchase pot online through the Ontario Cannabis Store. 

The province plans to allow private retail stores by April 1, 2019.