Hamilton puts off decision to allow cannabis retail stores

Cannabis harvested at the CannTrust Niagara Greenhouse Facility in Fenwick, Ont., is photographed on June 26, 2018. (Tijana Martin/Canadian Press)

Cannabis harvested at the CannTrust Niagara Greenhouse Facility in Fenwick, Ont., is photographed on June 26, 2018. (Tijana Martin/Canadian Press)

Hamilton city council has voted to defer a decision on whether to allow private cannabis retail stores in Hamilton. In the meantime, it'll ask what the public thinks.

Councillors voted 7-6 Tuesday to defer the decision until Jan 14.They have until Jan. 22 to tell the province whether Hamilton will opt in or out legal cannabis stores, thus granting it a share of future provincial revenue.

The decision to defer came after a nearly nine-hour general issues committee debate Tuesday. Council still has to ratify the deferral Wednesday morning, when that narrow vote could flip again. 

But if the deferral happens, the city will host an online survey on its site to get people's opinions on allowing the shops.

So far, though, a slim majority seems ready to opt out. Their reasons include lack of control over where they're located, and what they say is insufficient provincial funding to pay for costs that come from being a host city.

Those in favour say Hamilton is already paying costs associated to legalization, so it might as well opt in to an industry that will bring jobs and more commercial tax dollars. 

Hamilton already has a proliferation of illegal cannabis dispensaries, which Deputy Chief Dan Kinsella of Hamilton Police Service says won't go away right away.

Allowing stores will put Hamilton in line for a portion of the federal excise tax for the next two years.

Reporter Samantha Craggs live tweeted from the debate. Follow her at @SamCraggsCBC.

Original Article by CBC Canada

Victor Madril