Toronto city council has given the green light for privately-licensed cannabis shops to open across the city starting in 2019.
Twenty councilors, including Mayor John Tory, voted in favour of the proposal, allowing private marijuana shops to open as soon as April of next year.
While the results were overwhelming in favour of the motion, councilors still expressed concerns over the legislation.
“While today’s vote on cannabis will see Toronto become a part of a regulatory regime and allow cannabis retail stores, I do not believe it provides adequate ability for the City of Toronto to protect people and neighbourhoods,” said Mayor Tory, in response to the provision that cannabis shops can operate as close to 150 meters to schools.
After the vote, Ontario Attorney General Caroline Mulroney said that despite shortages of cannabis across Canada, Ontario will alter its original plan of is suing unlimited retail licenses in April.
“Taking into consideration the required investments for a prospective Ontario private legal retailer, we cannot in good conscience issue an unlimited number of licenses to businesses in the face of such shortages and the federal government’s failure to provide certainty around future supply,” Mulroney said in a statement.
The province will cap licenses at 25 shops instead, and slowly issue more in ‘phases.’ The inaugural 25 licenses will be distributed through a lottery system held by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.