FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 9, 2021
Mississauga Board of Trade (MBOT) Extremely Disappointed in
Mississauga’s Decision to Stay “Opted Out” from Retail Cannabis Stores
(Mississauga – June 9, 2021) – Today, the Mississauga General Committee made up of the Mayor and Members of Mississauga City Council defeated a motion put forward by Mississauga Ward 2 Councillor Karen Ras to have Mississauga “opt in” to allowing retail cannabis stores in the city. The vote was 8-4 to not opt in.
General Committee received a staff report on the status of retail cannabis stores in Ontario and heard multiple deputations all in support of Mississauga “opting in.” The report is here – Cannabis Retail Sales Update (escribemeetings.com).
“This decision today to continue to disallow retail cannabis stores that sell a legal product, pay taxes and employ hundreds of people is truly unfortunate. Mississauga Council has again denied local residents from the opportunity to purchase cannabis at a local store in a safe and responsible way,” said David Wojcik, President and CEO of the Mississauga Board of Trade.
Brad Butt, Vice-President, Government & Stakeholder Relations of MBOT made the below deputation to General Committee today.
On behalf of the Mississauga Board of Trade, thank you for the opportunity to address the Cannabis Retail Sales Update report and the issue of permitting retail cannabis stores in the City of Mississauga,
At the outset, we would like to thank your staff for a very comprehensive report and for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and Ontario Cannabis Store for appearing before you today.
The Mississauga Board of Trade believes that the City of Mississauga should opt in to permitting the establishment of retail cannabis stores in our city.
These are legitimate businesses, that are highly regulated, selling legal products. They now have a strong track record in many municipalities in Ontario of providing excellent customer service with no adverse effects in their communities as referenced in the staff report.
Cannabis retail stores pay commercial property taxes, the employ hundreds of people and often give back in other ways to make communities better.
They are occupying stores providing an additional retail experience for people in their local communities. They provide a service to customers who are consumers of these legal products right in their home neighbourhoods.
Once the City of Mississauga “opts in” to permitting retail cannabis stores, the city can participate in the 15-day commenting period on every application and can certainly raise concerns on location and number of stores being permitted. I am certain that our friends at the AGCO take municipal comments seriously and want to work with local government.
At present, we are denying our residents the opportunity to “shop local” for a legal product. We do not do this for any other sector, for any other product or service. Right now, unfortunately, the message is – go shop somewhere else.
After more than two years of this new regime, we have seen a seamless and responsible roll-out of retail cannabis stores in Ontario.
They are contributing to local economies, paying taxes and employing workers. They are providing an important retail service to millions of Ontarians.
The staff report refers to retail cannabis stores contributing to the City’s Economic Recovery Plan and providing new opportunities for small businesses, particularly given the impact COVID has had on businesses as well as $74 million per year in revenue for businesses if Council opts in.
And as a member of the Board of Tourism Mississauga, I am interested to know what the opportunities for Mississauga might be from “cannabis tourism.” So long as Mississauga does not have retail cannabis stores, this opportunity cannot be pursued.
Should Committee decide to recommend to Council to “opt in”, the Mississauga Board of Trade would support that position.
It is time for us to move forward and permit retail cannabis stores to operate in the City of Mississauga.
“The third largest city in Ontario and you cannot buy cannabis at a legal, retail store. It is truly shocking,” Mr Wojcik concluded.
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About the Mississauga Board of Trade
Since being established in 1961, MBOT has played an important leadership role serving and representing the interests of business of all sizes and sectors in our community.
Mississauga is Canada’s sixth largest city and third largest in Ontario – with a population of over 700,000 residents and more than 50,000 businesses employing over 440,000 people, including 60 Fortune 500 Canadian headquarters. Mississauga is where successful companies choose to do business. MBOT’s large, diverse and active membership has made us one of the most vibrant business associations in Canada.
As the “Voice of Business” we advocate on policy issues that impact local business at all levels of government and are influential in helping to shape policy decisions. MBOT also offers a wide variety of valuable business services and professional development programs, networking events and marketing opportunities, to help business grow, prosper, and get connected.
David Wojcik, Mississauga Board of Trade