NORTH DUNDAS – After the legalization of recreational marijuana back in October, the big question was whether or not North Dundas was going to opt-in to allow retail cannabis stores in the township.

After three months of the new council getting comfortable in their new positions and discussing their plans for the 2019 year, the decision has been made for North Dundas to opt-in on cannabis retail stores.

Other townships that have also opted-in include South Dundas, South Stormont, South Glengarry, North Stormont, the City of Ottawa and the Township of Russell. The Township of North Glengarry and the Municipality of North Grenville have not come to a decision as of Jan. 15.

As per opting-in, cannabis retail stores will be permitted in North Dundas as of April 1, 2019. Rules outline that the retail stores must be stand-alone and are permitted to be open between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. The stores must also be located at least 150 metres from any public school and no one under the age of 19 can enter the shops.

According to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario website, the Government of Ontario announced changes to how cannabis retail stores will be allocated across the province. With the shortage of legal cannabis supply from federally licensed producers, the government now allows private cannabis retail stores to open in phases and has provided the AGCO the authority to permit up to 25 stores in the initial phase. A lottery, conducted by the AGCO, was held to determine who will be able to apply for one of the 25 initial stores.

The Township of North Dundas will be given $6,115 to offset costs but will not get one of the 25 stores due for Ontario in April. Lottery winners must apply in municipalities with a population of 50,000 or more people.