UPDATE: On Thursday, Aug. 8, the AGCO sent the City of Burlington notice of the approval of Pioneer Cannabis Co. to open in Burlington.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has authorized the retail cannabis store Pioneer Cannabis Co. to operate in Burlington. The location of the store is in the 1200 Brant St. plaza at North Service Road and the QEW. Notice of authorization was sent to the City of Burlington on July 25.
The AGCO must still conduct a pre-opening inspection to ensure the operator is ready to open for business and sell cannabis products to the public in accordance with the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018, its regulations and the Registrar’s Standards for Cannabis Retail Stores.
If approved, this will be the second cannabis retail store authorized in Burlington by the Province — RELM Cannabis (4031 Fairview St., unit 103, at the corner of Walkers Line) was approved and opened earlier this year.
During our Burlington City Council May 27 meeting, we unanimously approved the City Manager’s Office report on CM-8-19 Cannabis Retail Store Guideline with amendments to the Community Preferences section of the City of Burlington Cannabis Retail Store Guidelines attached as Appendix A to City Manager’s office report CM-8-19 by changing, in the first bullet point, 150 metre buffer to 500 metre buffer and by adding, in the third bullet point, ‘a 500 metre’ between the words ‘maintain’ and ‘separation’.
The report was based on endorsing a similar resolution (Draft Resolution-Cannabis-LUMCO_Mayor Davis-Final) passed by the Large Urban Mayor’s Caucus of Ontario. This resolution was drafted by a sub-committee of mayors — two members from municipalities that opted-in (and of which I am one) and two from municipalities that opted-out.
We’ve been fortunate to date with the locations of these stores. This one is appropriate, given it is more than 150 metres from a school or other locations of concern, including parks, pools, arenas, libraries or recreation centres. It’s also along transit routes and near the QEW/Hwy. 403.
I support regulated cannabis stores in Burlington, to give our residents safe, legal access to this product, and help combat black market sales. In consultation with the Halton Regional Police Service, we learned that cannabis products purchased outside a regulated market are sometimes laced with illegal drugs, such as opioids. I’ve also heard directly from residents, including many seniors, who have switched to cannabis for pain management and have gotten off of opioids, which are addictive and lethal.
Nevertheless, myself and other mayors across Ontario will continue to advocate for additional regulatory control over the location and number of stores within our cities. I recently participated in a subcommittee of the Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO), with three other mayors – two from jurisdictions which do not allow cannabis stores, and two which do. We brought forward recommendations for changes to provincial regulations to give municipalities greater control over locations and proliferation of stores. This motion was approved by LUMCO and forwarded to the province (please see the link above).
Burlington City Council also approved a set of criteria for location and other considerations that we will submit as comments for any new store (please see the link provided above).
We will continue to monitor and report on any locations as they arise, and advocate for appropriate regulations.