VIDEO: LaSalle to Decide to Opt In or Out on Retail Pot

The question of whether or not to opt-out of retail pot stores is coming to LaSalle Tuesday night.

Leamington is the only municipality in Essex County to opt-in so far even though current regulations won't allow a licencing to municipalities with less than 50,000 people until at least December.  LaSalle wouldn't be able to have retail sales based on its population, but the question will still be brought to council.

Councillor Jeff Renaud tells AM800 News some councillors have hinted they may not be in favour of opting-out, but he's leaning towards pulling-back until municipalities have more input on what's going to happen.

"The way it [Cannabis Control Act] reads right now, we don't have a lot of say. We can't make by-laws as to where they can go or how many we can have," he says. "The licences are coming from the provincial government and it's completely out of our hands and that's a little bit scary."

He says the rules have already changed several times leading up to the deadline, and even though there's some provincial funding that could be lost if the town opts-out, it's not enough money to sway his decision.

"To be honest, I'm a little skeptical voting to opt-in if there're going to be more changes," says Renaud. "I guess I would want to see some more stability."

Renaud expects there will be health debate on the issue amongst councillors and the public Tuesday night.

"If it's opt-in, it's opt-in forever. I'd imagine there will be people, that if they have a say, they may want to raise their hand when given the opportunity," says Renaud, who added the town can opt-in at any time after the deadline.

The deadline to opt-out is Jan. 22; any municipality that doesn't notify the government of its stance is automatically opting-in to retail pot when it's rolled out.

Licensees will be determined by a lottery — 25 stores will be opened province-wide in April.

 

— with files from AM800's Rob Hindi.