Opportunities to PORTicipate

Municipalities are being offered the opportunity to opt-out of having a retail store in their community and must so by Jan. 22, 2019.
On Jan. 14, 2019, City Council will consider a report to opt-in or opt-out of hosting retail cannabis stores in the City of Port Colborne.

Opportunities to PORTicipate on this issue:

• Online survey. Note: The survey is now closed.

Print copies of the survey were available at City Hall, 66 Charlotte Street until Friday, Dec. 21, 2018 and on Jan. 2, 2019. During the holiday closures, residents could obtain copies at either the Port Colborne Public Library, 310 King Street from Dec. 13 – 22 and 27 – 30, or Vale Health & Wellness Centre, 550 Elizabeth Street, which is closed Tuesday, Dec. 25. Since City Hall was closed during the holidays, residents could have returned the survey to the after hours drop boxes at both City Hall and the Vale Health & Wellness Centre. 

The survey took five minutes to complete and closed on Jan. 2, 2019 at 7 p.m.

• Telephone survey

The City of Port Colborne contracted Oraclepoll Research Ltd. to conduct telephone interviews with residents drawn from a random sample of the population. The City encouragedresidents to accept calls from Oraclepoll; calls lasted approximately five minutes.

• A Public Information Session owas held on Jan. 2, 2019 at City Hall, 66 Charlotte Street, from 5 to 7 p.m.

• Residents could have emailed cannabis@portcolborne.ca with any comments until 7 p.m. on January 2, 2019.

Staff drafted a report for council that was discussed on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019 in Council Chambers, 66 Charlotte Street.
Council voted 6-2 in favour of retail cannabis at this meeting, prior to formal feedback required to the Province before the Jan. 22, 2019 deadline.
Click here to watch the council meeting.





 The Federal Government legalized recreational cannabis on Oct. 17, 2018 and it is now legal to purchase and use cannabis for recreational purposes across Canada. In Ontario, currently the only way to legally purchase recreational cannabis is online through the Ontario Cannabis Store, but beginning in April 2019 it will be available for purchase through private recreational cannabis retail stores. The Provincial Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) is charged with licencing, regulating and enforcement of private cannabis retail stores. The Ontario Cannabis Store will be exclusive wholesaler to these retailers. The AGCO will begin accepting applications for new stores in Dec. of 2018, with the intent to have private retail cannabis stores operational by April 1, 2019.

The governing legislation in Ontario is the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act, Cannabis Control Act, Cannabis License Act (the Act), Smoke Free Ontario Act and others.

Canada's New Cannabis Act

Through The Cannabis Act, (Bill C45), the Federal Government legalized recreational cannabis on October 17, 2018. This resulted in new, strict framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis in Canada. The Bill was introduced to:

  • prevent youth from accessing cannabis
  • displace the illegal cannabis market



Quick Cannabis Facts

In Ontario, we have new laws that tell us how, where and who can buy and have cannabis. Here are some quick facts.


Not Legal

  • Adults 19 years and over can purchase up to 30 grams(g) (about one ounce) of cannabis online through the Ontario Cannabis Store

  • Adults can grow up to four plants per household in their residence or in their outdoor space

  •  Adults can have 30 g of dried cannabis in their possession

  • Cannabis can be used by adults in a private home or on private property and in places where it is legal to smoke tobacco

  • Condominiums/apartments can have their own rules around cannabis use/growth

  • Advertising cannabis in public is not permitted

  • Like tobacco, the use of cannabis is not permitted in publicly owned spaces such as the Port Colborne Farmers’ Market, playgrounds and sports facilities

  • You cannot drive while impaired from cannabis

  • Cannabis use is not permitted in vehicles and boats that are being driven or under a person’s care or control

  • An unlicensed individual or corporation cannot sell or distribute cannabis

  • Children under the age of 19 cannot buy, use, possess or grow cannabis

  • An unlicensed individual or corporation cannot sell or distribute cannabis

  • Travelling outside of Canada with cannabis is not permitted


Port Colborne Cannabis Retail Store Engagement Timeline

Port Colborne Cannabis Retail Store Engagement Timeline





Council considers staff report and instructs staff to engage the community.

City Hall, 66 Charlotte Street, Port Colborne

Regular Council:

Dec. 10, 2018. 6:30 p.m.


Online: Click Here

Deadline: Jan. 2, 2019.

24/7 Access

Public Information Session

City Hall, 66 Charlotte Street, Port Colborne 

Jan. 2, 2019.

5-7 p.m.

Telephone Survey


Dec. 15- Jan. 2, 2019


Email Feedback

Email: cannabis@portcolborne.ca

Deadline: Jan. 2, 2019.

24/7 Access

Council Meeting

City Hall, 66 Charlotte Street, Port Colborne

Regular Council: Jan. 14, 2019. 6:30 p.m.

Last day for Port Colborne to opt out of Province’s regulations for retail sale of cannabis.


Jan. 22, 2019

Ontario allows licensed retailers to sell cannabis.


April 1, 2019


Details of each decision

These are the two options available to Municipalities:



  • City Council must pass a resolution and provide it to the province by January 22, 2019 to opt out.
  • The province is setting aside $10 million from the Fund for “unforeseen circumstances” and priority will be given to municipalities that did not opt out as of January 22, 2019.
  • The City can subsequently opt in at any time, but will be unable to opt out in the future
  • If the City opts out, we will still receive a first payment from the Ontario Cannabis Legalization Implementation Fund but the second payment will be limited to $5,000 and there will be no opportunity to share in the federal excise duty.
  • If the City opts out, the province will not issue any retail store authorizations for locations in Port Colborne and there will be no legal  storefronts here. 
  • Individuals can purchase recreational cannabis online from the Ontario Cannabis Store or from a cannabis retail store in a municipality that has not opted out. 
  • By opting in, Port Colborne will receive the first payment under the Fund and will also receive a second payment that is based on a per household basis (not capped at $5,000) and priority access to the “unforeseen circumstances” funding.
  • If the province’s portion of the federal excise duty on recreational cannabis over the first two years of legalization exceeds $100 million, the province will provide 50% of the surplus only to those municipalities that have not opted out as of January 22, 2019.
  • If the City does not opt out then the City is automatically deemed to have opted in and cannot opt out in the future. 
  • The province controls the licensing and operation of the private cannabis retail stores. 
  • The province requires a cannabis retail store to be a minimum distance of 150 metres from a school. 
  • The City is not permitted to impose any additional restrictions specific to cannabis retail stores through its zoning by-law (i.e. distance separation from:  other cannabis retail stores, addiction treatment facilities, parks, sports fields, community centres, long-term care homes, etc.). 
  • The City is not permitted to limit the number of cannabis retail stores in in Port Colborne. 
  • The City is not permitted to create business licensing regulations specific to cannabis retail stores. 
  • The AGCO will require applicants to post a placard at a proposed store location for 15 calendar days.  The AGCO will also post a notice on its website.  During the 15 day notice period the City and its residents may provide written submissions to the AGCO through its website.  The submissions can only relate to 3 public interest factors:  (1)  protection of public health and safety;  (2)  protection of youth and the restriction of their access to cannabis;  and (3) prevention of illicit activities in relation to cannabis.