Ontario communities can delay but not opt out of pot shops, government says

The LCBO hopes to open its first batch of 40 recreational marijuana stores by July 2018.

Communities across Ontario cannot opt out of hosting a government-run pot shop if they are selected for a site, the provincial government said Friday after at least one town expressed resistance to having a cannabis retail location.

If a community is selected to host one of the marijuana shops, it could delay hosting the store but cannot completely opt out of having it, said Ontario’s Ministry of Finance.

“As we roll-out the next phase of stores, we will continue to engage with municipalities on an ongoing basis including with those municipalities who may not be ready for a store opening in July 2018,” said Jessica Martin, spokeswoman for Finance Minister Charles Sousa.

“Ultimately, our goal through a controlled model is to ensure a safe and sensible framework for cannabis legalization.”

Earlier this week, a committee of the City of Richmond Hill unanimously endorsed a statement saying it was not willing to host one of the retail stores. City councillors are expected to debate the motion next week.

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