Guelph’s chief of police says his department will support whatever decision the city makes in regards to whether it will allow the operation of private cannabis retailers.
On Wednesday the provincial government laid out its regulations for private companies seeking to open legal cannabis retailers in Ontario.
The Ontario PC government has offered municipalities a one-time opportunity to opt out of allowing cannabis retailers to operate within their boundaries.
The City of Guelph is currently asking for feedback about cannabis retailers and restrictions on smoking cannabis from residents via an online poll.
The feedback collected in the poll will be included in a report to city council on Dec. 17, when it is expected to make a decision whether to opt out of the province’s retail model.
The regulations established by the province include a minimum distance of 150 metres, or about 500 feet, between cannabis retailers and schools.
"The purpose of these regulations is to keep kids safe and to ensure all people operating in this tightly-regulated retail system behave with integrity, honesty, and in the public interest," said Caroline Mulroney, attorney general of Ontario, in a press release.
The application process for businesses wishing to receive a cannabis retail store license will also open on Dec. 17.
“We will be ready with laws and regulations to protect Ontario's youth and to combat the criminal market in response to the federal government's legalization of cannabis,” said Mulroney.
Chief Jeff DeRuyter of the Guelph Police service said on Thursday that police will be part of the consultation process with the city in terms of making the decision whether to opt out.
“We will work with the city and support the city, but at the end of the day it will be up to the local council to see what route they are going to go,” DeRuyter told GuelphToday.
DeRuyter said whether the city decides to opt out or not, Guelph Police will work to enhance road safety and enforce the law.
In addition to the regulations in regards to distance to schools, legal cannabis retailers will not be permitted to allow anyone under the age of 19 to enter the store and no one who has cannabis-related criminal offences will be allowed to obtain a license to operate.
Also, no licenses will be issued to any illegal cannabis retailers who were operating after Oct. 17, 2018.
Managers and retail employees of legal cannabis retailers will be required to complete training on the responsible sale of cannabis.
A cap of 75 licenses has been set for any single operator, which the province said will prevent a high degree of market consolidation and promote opportunities for small businesses.
Retail cannabis stores will be permitted to operate between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. seven days a week.