cannabis ontario

A Toronto politician is trying to curb the number of cannabis stores in parts of the city

By all appearances, the cannabis industry is absolutely booming in Ontario, with new storefronts popping up around cities like Toronto seemingly every day.

With multiple pot shops per block in some neighbourhoods, many are wondering if parts of the province are facing over-saturation at this point, with the government marking the opening of our 1000th authorized weed retailer at the end of August.

By that time, Toronto alone already had more than 250 cannabis stores and counting, comprising more than a quarter of Ontario's total.

As anyone who's walked a downtown thoroughfare knows, there are indeed a shocking number of dispensaries, many within very close proximity to one another, begging the question of how some of them are profitable.

Mayor John Tory is among those who have advocated for more red tape in the licensing process for such establishments, along with one MPP who is now suggesting new legislation to give municipalities more control over the industry.

Davenport MPP Marit Stiles's Bill 29 would amend the Cannabis Licence Act to require Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario registrar's to consult city councils to provide "proof of the needs and wishes of the residents of the municipality" before yet another shop is green lit.

Stiles was prompted by what she perceives as "quite a concentration" of such businesses is certain parts of the city, which she noted to the Star only worsened over the course of the pandemic as other establishments closed down, only for dispensaries to open up in their place.

"We want a healthy, thriving industry," she told the news outlet.

The ACGO, meanwhile, has been licensing more and more shops at a faster pace recently in the face of fierce lobbying and an oversupply issue, from the modern and minamilist to the hip and retro to the discount and tacky.

Stiles's bill — which may be folded into other changes to cannabis legislation — would mean that residents and politicians who are sick of new cannabis stores appearing all over the place instead of a wider range of businesses would hopefully be able to have their say in the matter.

Still, legal pot sales numbers in Ontario remain extremely high, pointing to what many would say is a thriving market with room for more growth.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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