Further to the City of Mississauga’s Decision to opt out of the privately-operated retail cannabis stores at Council on December 12, 2018, I have been asked why I voted to opt out.  Below is my oral presentation that I made to Council on December 12, 2018 which outlines my position on the Provincial distribution model for private retail cannabis.

Thank you Madame Mayor, thank you to staff for the Report before us today and thank you to those deputants who have come here to speak on this issue today and for staff for hosting the public meetings and survey on this very important issue.

I will be voting to opt out of this concerning provincial distribution model for private retail cannabis imposed on us by the Provincial Government.  I have heard from the Residents of Ward 3, at their doors, in schools, in the very neighbourhood plazas where the Province is proposing this concerning distribution model be focused and I am not prepared, the families in Ward 3 are not prepared to have these private retail cannabis stores proliferate, infiltrate through and in our cherished neighbourhoods.  This Provincial Retail distribution model is one sided and weights very heavily on a free market approach to distribution where the marketing, promotion, the sale and profits are clearly the focus.  Where the local community, residents, our very Council will have no control of where these private businesses will be located.  I, Madame Mayor, the residents of Ward 3, our Council, our City are very proud of the care and commitment that has gone into the planning of our neighbourhoods, communities, our City.  We have often times stood proudly to tell the Province and the Federal Government that we know our communities and want to be able to control planning our City of Mississauga.  This Provincial distribution model will give us no control of the current and future planning process of how our neighbourhoods develop.  In fact, the focus for the Province in this distribution model is clearly on locating these cannabis retail stores right in the heart of our neighbourhoods, within 150m of neighbourhood grade schools, high schools, family residential neighbourhoods and parks and absolutely no limitations from daycare, child care, community centres, youth shelters and youth facilities.  This Provincial distribution model places retail in as close proximity as physically possible to our most vulnerable children, youth, young adults, with no say for us as a municipality in the zoning and planning and no limitations in the number of retail outlets and no cap in locations frequented every single day by children, youth, young adults, seniors and families.  The legalization of cannabis was intended to take away the sale of cannabis from organized crime and gangs and to address the alarming concerning use of cannabis by youth.  The provincial distribution retail model clearly does not regard the public health goal, in fact is the polar opposite of the public health goal of delaying when people start to use cannabis. 

The Province could have chosen to have retail locations far away from the most vulnerable, children, youth, young adults instead the Province emphasizes in this retail distribution model no limitations.  The Province could have proposed municipalities to have a voice, a say in the decision of where these private retail locations will be located.  Instead we will have no control.

If people need access, ordering on-line is readily available and those in need for medical, medicinal purposes have readily available access. 

The monies that the Province is proposing to provide municipalities is also concerning, a faction, a pittance of the costs we will, as a municipality incur to address this distribution model.  I am proud, Ward 3 residents are proud, we as a City are very proud of the City of Mississauga, family, friendly neighbourhood.  Were residents enjoy value and hold to the highest regard our commitment to public community safety, public health and community building.

This concerning Provincial distribution model of private retail cannabis clearly does not place a focus on public health, public safety or community building, nor does it hold to any regarding municipalities to have control in the current or future development of our neighbours.  With this Provincial distribution model there are too many unknowns.  For these reasons, I will be voting to opt out.  Thank you.