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Guelph to get retail marijuana store next year

Mayor says province has notified him that a store is planned for the Royal City
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Mayor Cam Guthrie says the province has notified the city that a retail marijuana outlet is planned for Guelph.

The province wants to have the retail outlet open by July of 2018. The exact location of the retail outlet has not yet been determined.

"There's a lot more to come yet, but we have been selected," Guthrie said in an interview. "We would like to have a pretty strong say as to where these stores would go in the city.

"In regards to a partnership between them and us, engagement will definitely start and meetings will be scheduled," Guthrie said.

The province previously announced the first 14 municipalities to get retail marijuana outlets following its legalization by the federal government. Guelph is part of the second wave of announcements.

"They will ensure that input from the municipality will be considered as these stores are established," the mayor said.

Guidelines, possible locations, social responsibility measure and public notifications will all be part of the discussions, he said.

The mayor said he and other municipalities are faced with a lot of unknowns about the retail outlets because they are a new thing.

"We're all trying to understand what the impact is going to be," he said. "We're wading into an area where it's unknown to everyone how it's going to play out.

"My personal take is that that society has come to a place and understanding that this is where it's going."

Guthrie said municipalities also want more information on possible revenue sharing from the legal sale of marijuana and costs to help offset some of the potential negative side effects of it being sold in the community.

"I'm concerned there may be some consequences," he said. "It's like having a casino pop up in your community. There are some benefits, but there are potentially some negative benefits as well."

No dates for the meetings with the province have been set, but Guthrie said those further discussions will happen "as soon as possible."