Cornwall mayor hopes AMO talk helps shape marijuana sale plan

(Newswatch Group/File)

CORNWALL – The city’s mayor is keeping an open mind on what future private retail sales of recreational cannabis would look like within Cornwall’s boundaries.

The provincial government rolled out its plan yesterday (Monday) for a “tightly regulated” private retail model, which will start operation in April 2019. In the meantime, marijuana sales will be strictly online through the Ontario Cannabis Store when pot is legal in October.

In an interview with Cornwall Newswatch, Leslie O’Shaughnessy believes they will get more information next week when the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) holds its annual conference.

“It’s new. I may have more on the subject matter after AMO…once we have an opportunity to network with other municipalities to see what they’re feelings are and the possible direction they’re going to be going in,” O’Shaughnessy said.

“As far as what the City of Cornwall does, that will probably be a decision that would be made by the next council,” the mayor said.

Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli and Attorney General Caroline Mulroney say municipalities can opt out of hosting any pot shops within their boundaries.

“But, then again, can that be challenged by people that wish to have dispensaries within the city boundaries?” O’Shaughnessy pondered.

If it’s allowed to be sold in private shops in the city, the mayor does see limitation on where stores could set up.

“Oh, certainly, and I think that would be a very important issue to the City of Cornwall. Certainly, (not) near schools, near hospitals or even near churches. I do believe that would be prudent…that they allocate certain areas where these…outlets could be put in or maybe, to the point, where they would not allow them.”

The province says it will be learning from the private models in Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario Conference is Aug. 19-22, 2018 in Ottawa.