Windsor Mayor Supports Move to Loosen Retail Pot Rules

AM800-NEWS-Drew-Dilkens-Windsor-city-budget-April-1-2019

Windsor's mayor says the province's decision to open the retail pot market is the right move.

The Ontario government announced it's scrapping the lottery system used to issue pot-shop licenses Thursday and will open up the retail market by loosening the rules in the New Year.

According to critics, the lottery system has gone on too long and has failed to make a dent in the black market. Mayor Drew Dilkens agrees with those critics and says he supports the province's call to open direct applications to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

"They'll decide ultimately, where the locations are approved. City council will have an opportunity to feed in its opinion on each proposed application, but this is probably the right approach now that supply has caught up to meet prospective demand in the community," he says.

The changes are in the best interest of municipalities, according to Dilkens.

"At this point it's really just about trying to eliminate the black market and make sure the majority of product sold is actually done through the legal marketplace,” he added.

Dilkens doesn't expect council to see a flood of applications after potential retailers are allowed to apply for a licence on January 6, 2020.

"If 10 organizations come forward and want to set up stores, there's likely not enough demand in the city of Windsor to accommodate 10," he says. "At the end of the day the market will decide, but the province will have ultimate licencing authority and city council will certainly feed in their opinion on perspective locations and we'll just go from there."

Windsor already has one store in the works from the lottery system, but the location of the storefront at 545 Ouellette Ave. is being disputed by the city.

Amherstburg, Essex, Kingsville, Lakeshore, Leamington, Pelee Island and Windsor opted in to host a cannabis store, while LaSalle and Tecumseh opted out.