marijuana leaf

Hub Staff

The Town of Saugeen Shores is expressing concern around the effectiveness of applying for a cannabis retail location through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). Although the process is clearly outlined on the AGCO website, two recent applications have come through somewhat undetected.

As a means of public notification, applicants are required to post a placard on the proposed storefront for a period of 15 days. The municipality then has 15 days to submit written feedback to the AGCO Registrar. If received within the public notice period, the Registrar will forward the submission from the municipality to the applicant who will then have five days to respond. Any applicable submissions will be taken into account in the final decision.

In April, 2020 an application was presented to the AGCO to locate a cannabis retail store on the northeast corner of High Street and Albert Street in Southampton. The application raised concerns within the municipality including the proximity to both a public library and an elementary school as well as being in the midst of many public events held at the Town Hall and on High Street. Saugeen Shores CAO David Smith expressed these concerns as well as his dissatisfaction with the public notice process in a letter to the AGCO dated April 30.

“We have not been circulated this application. We were advised through our local media and are concerned that we would not have known about this or other applications in our community,” wrote Smith.

A second application from the AGCO surfaced at the June 8 Committee of Whole meeting. Although Staff and Council were more supportive of this location, 5026 Highway 21, it again generated apprehension around the absence of any direct notification to the Town.

“That’s the second one now where we have to, our staff have to, beat the bushes looking for these files,” noted Saugeen Shores Mayor Luke Charbonneau. “They could easily slip by if the media didn’t pick them up or somebody else didn’t notice. I think the AGCO should know that we’re concerned about that. I think we should CC this letter to Minister Thompson and to the Attorney General,” advised Charbonneau.

See also: Reader finds inherent hyposcrisy in cannabis concerns