Ontario assisting municipalities with the cost of legalizing cannabis

Vic Fedeli, Minister of Finance. Image: https://www.ontario.ca

Ontario’s Government is assisting municipalities with the cost of legalizing cannabis and combatting the illegal market by providing a second payment of $15 million by the end of February to help safeguard communities.

“The deadline for municipalities to opt out of having cannabis retail stores within their boundaries has now passed,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Finance. “The private retail model will combat the illegal market, helping to make our communities safer.”

Ontario is assisting municipalities with the costs related to the legalization of recreational cannabis by providing $40 million over two years through the Ontario Cannabis Legalization Implementation Fund. Earlier this month, a first payment of $15 million was provided to municipalities on a per-household basis, adjusted so that at least $5,000 was provided to each municipality.

With passage of the opt-out deadline, a second payment of $15 million will be distributed. The 77 municipalities that have opted out will receive $5,000 each. Those municipalities that have not opted out will receive funding on a per-household basis, adjusted so that at least $5,000 is provided to each municipality.

Government officials say Ontario will provide municipalities that have not opted out with 50 per cent of the surplus of the province’s portion of the federal excise duty on recreational cannabis, if that amount exceeds $100 million over the first two years of legalization.

“Ontario is committed to continuing to work with all municipalities to keep our youth and our neighbourhoods safe,” said Fedeli.

Ontario is allowing the opening of 25 private retail cannabis stores as of April 1st as a temporary measure due to the national supply shortage of cannabis.  When Ontario has determined that the federal government has provided for enough reliable supply, Ontario will issue further retail store licences.

Quick facts:

  • Municipalities were provided a one-time opportunity to opt out of permitting cannabis retail stores within their boundaries. The deadline to opt out was January 22nd.
  • Ontario has set aside $10 million of the $40 million in funding to help address costs from unforeseen circumstances related to the legalization of recreational cannabis. Priority for this funding will be given to municipalities that have not opted out.
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