Opting out of risky private cannabis stores is only possible between now and January 22, 2019. After that, your municipality will be forced into having as many private stores as the provincial government sees fit. You can adapt the draft opt-out motion below for your municipality and present it to your Council. It says your municipality opts out and tells the province that you want a responsible public cannabis sales system that will ensure the protection of underage children. You can also adapt the draft letter to Doug Ford below to tell him that your municipality is going to opt out of private cannabis stores.

Motion to Demand a Responsible Plan for Public Cannabis Sales

the legalization of cannabis is one of the most significant public policy changes that Canada has faced in a generation;

AND WHEREAS public opinion research shows that nearly 70 per cent of the people of Ontario are worried about cannabis being sold to underage children;

AND WHEREAS public opinion research also shows that Ontarians are 11 times more likely to trust a responsible public retailer like the LCBO over private stores to keep cannabis out of the hands of underage children;

AND WHEREAS the government’s current plan allows private cannabis stores within just 150 metres of schools (which is three times closer than Ford promised to allow them during the election campaign);

AND WHEREAS existing LCBO stores can be quickly and inexpensively retrofitted to sell cannabis;

AND WHEREAS the Ford government’s current cannabis retail plan allows only for private cannabis retailers, and leaves municipalities with no local control over how many outlets it must host, or even where those outlets can be located;

AND WHEREAS municipal governments have the right to, before Jan. 22, 2019, “opt out” of hosting private cannabis retailers;

AND WHEREAS municipalities which opt-out of the government’s cannabis plan can still decide to opt-in later;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT [the municipality of …] will “opt-out” of hosting private cannabis retail outlets, and send a formal letter to Premier Doug Ford stating that [the municipality of ...] won’t “opt-in” until it is given the option of publicly owned and managed LCBO cannabis retail outlets;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT [the municipality of …] send copies of the letter to all other municipalities within the county, and also to the municipality’s federal and provincial representatives, and to local reporters and media outlets.

Responsible Plan for Public Cannabis Sales - Letter to Premier

You can adapt this letter and use it to inform Doug Ford that your municipality is opting out of private cannabis stores. At the end of the letter you will find a number of individuals and groups you may wish to cc. 


Doug Ford
Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, ON
M7A 1A1

As the {Mayor, Reeve, Warden} of {Municipality}, I am writing to inform you that our municipality will “opt-out” of hosting private cannabis retail outlets and will continue to push for the ability to “opt-in” to having the LCBO sell cannabis in our community.

The legalization of cannabis is the most significant public policy change that Canada has faced for generations. The people of our community are anxious about the consequences, particularly the likelihood of underage kids and teens getting their hands on cannabis.

Recent public opinion research by Nanos shows that Ontarians are 11 times more likely to say the LCBO would be better than private retailers at keeping cannabis out of the hands of kids.

Unfortunately, your government’s plan for cannabis retail does not currently give our community the ability to choose the LCBO as a cannabis retailer. In fact, the “choice” you’ve given us is really no choice at all. It’s an unfair Catch-22. In an unrealistically short time-frame, we must either:

  • “Opt out” of hosting retail cannabis outlets, allowing the criminal market to continue to thrive at the expense of community safety and revenue.
  • “Opt in” to hosting an unlimited number of profit-driven cannabis outlets, forever giving up control over how many outlets we must host or where those outlets can be located.

In either scenario, we are stripped of all local control but left with most of the enforcement costs.

We don’t even have the ability to stop private stores from setting up within a stone’s throw of our schools. During the election campaign, you promised to keep them at least 450 metres from schools. But now it turns out you’ll allow them within just 150 metres.

This is not right. This is not fair. Our community deserves a real choice. A responsible choice. A public choice like the LCBO.

The LCBO has a long, proven track record of responsibly selling a controlled substance. Existing LCBO locations could be easily retrofitted for the sale of cannabis. Our citizens will know where cannabis is sold, and they will take comfort knowing that it is being sold responsibly and effectively.

You promise often that you will govern “for the people.” It’s time to live up to that promise by giving the people a real choice on how cannabis is sold in their communities.

Until we are given a real choice, our council will be forced to remain “opted-out” of retail cannabis sales and will continue to demand the choice of a responsible public cannabis retailer.



{Mayor, Reeve} of {Municipality Name}


Finance Minister Vic Fedeli (
Attorney General Caroline Mulroney (
Responsible Plan (
Your Local MPP (Use the map below to find the email address.)
Mayors of other municipalities in the county
Local journalists



An updated version of Google chrome or Firefox is required.

  • Use it as you would a Google map: zoom in and out, drag it around to move throughout the province
  • Click layers on and off in the legend that you want or don’t want to see
  • Most importantly click on the points themselves to get all the information to tell you more about that point
  • Type in your city or postal code in the search box at the top right to find a specific riding and see the MPP, or cabinet minister
  • Please note that when you click on a point on the map an info box will pop-up about the point
  • There may be multiple pieces of info for that same location so be sure to use the arrows at the top of the info-box where it says ‘Multiple Features Available’ to see all the data about that point
  • This info can be accessed at any time, from anywhere, and on any device


Cannabis is now legal: In the biggest public policy shift in generations, cannabis is now legal in Canada.

People are worried: Nanos public opinion research shows that 69 per cent of Ontarians are concerned about underage kids getting their hands on cannabis

People trust the LCBO more than private cannabis retailers: Nanos public opinion research also shows that Ontarians are 11 times more likely to say the LCBO would be more effective than private retailers at keeping cannabis out of the hands of kids.

Cannabis available online now: People in Ontario are now able to buy cannabis online from the Ontario Cannabis Store.

Cannabis will be available in stores on April 1, 2019: Cannabis stores will begin opening on April 1, 2019.

The current plan for cannabis retail is private stores only: Shortly after being elected, the Ford government decreed that only private retailers will be allowed to sell cannabis. Previously, the plan was for LCBO-managed stores to sell cannabis.

Municipalities have no say over number or location of stores: As currently written, the law governing cannabis retail leaves municipalities with no control over how many private retail stores they must host, or even where those stores can be located. The law specifically strips municipalities of any zoning power over cannabis stores.

Cannabis stores allowed VERY close to schools. During the election campaign, Ford vowed to keep stores at least 450 metres from schools. Now, he’s allowing them three times closer to schools, as near as just 150 metres.

Opt-out option: The Ford government has given municipalities an extremely limited say on cannabis retail in their communities. They can “opt out” of hosting any cannabis stores. The deadline for this “opt out” is Jan. 22, 2019.

Opt-out can be reversed: Municipalities that “opt out” of cannabis retail will be allowed to change course and “opt-in” later

Opt-in is forever: Municipalities which “opt-in” to cannabis retail by Jan 22, 2019, WILL NOT be able to change course and “out-out” later.

“Opt-out” strategy: For most communities opposed to privatized cannabis retailers, opting out is not a long-term solution. Without any cannabis retailers, the criminal market will continue to thrive. But if used strategically by a number of municipalities, the “opt-out” power can be used to force the Ford government to adopt a responsible plan. Municipalities would “opt-out” until their demand for the ability to choose LCBO retailers is met.


Health risks

Cannabis is not a benign substance. Public health experts identify these as the main health risks:

  • Problems with thinking, memory or physical co-ordination
  • Impaired perceptions or hallucinations
  • Fatal and non-fatal injuries, including those from motor-vehicle accidents, due to impairment
  • Mental health problems and cannabis dependence
  • Chronic respiratory or lung problems
  • Reproductive problems

Public health experts recommend reducing risks to your health by taking these steps, including: abstaining from cannabis use, delaying taking up cannabis use, choosing lower-risk cannabis products, limiting and reducing cannabis use, not driving or operating machinery while impaired, and avoiding cannabis use if you are at risk for mental health problems or are pregnant.


Fischer et al (2017). Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines (LRCUG) Retrieved at:

Use of cannabis in the past year:

  • General population, 15 years of age and up: 12 %
  • Past year use males: 15 %
  • Past year use females: 10 %
  • Adults, 25 years of age and up: 10 %
  • Youth, 15 to 24 years of age: 25.5 %
  • Youth, 15 to 19 years of age: 21 %
  • Youth, 20 to 24 years of age: 30 %
  • Median age of initiating cannabis use: 17 years of age


Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS) (2015 summary). Retrieved at:

Effects of cannabis use on youth

  • Adolescents are particularly at risk for harms since their brains are undergoing development into their early 20s.
  • Cannabis use during adolescence can cause functional and structural changes to the brain leading to damage.
  • The research suggests a strong association between daily cannabis use and depression in adolescents and young adults although no causal relationship has been established.
  • Cannabis use can produce psychosis in adolescents even among those without a prior history in mental illness. Although the absolute risk for producing psychosis is low.


Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. Marijuana and Youth. Retrieved at:

Canadian Paediatric Society, position statement (2017). Cannabis and Canada’s Children and Youth. Retrieved at:

Drug-impaired driving

  • Cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of a motor vehicle crash especially for fatal collisions.
  • Cannabis is the most commonly found drug among fatally-injured drivers in Canada.
  • Nearly half of cannabis users surveyed who drive in Ontario have reported driving while impaired.
  • In 2012, cannabis collisions in Canada resulted in an estimated 75 fatalities, 4,407 injuries and 7,794 victims of property damage only (PDO) collisions, with an estimated economic and social cost of approximately $1 billion.
  • 16–34 year olds represent only 32% of the Canadian population, but 61% of the cannabis-attributable fatalities.


Ashbridge et al (2012). Acute cannabis consumption and motor vehicle collision risk: systematic review of observational studies and meta-analysis, British Medical Journal. Retrieved at:

Solomon et al for MADD Canada (2018). Cannabis and other drugs among drivers of highway vehicles dying within 30 days of a crash on a public road: Canada, 2014. Retrieved at: Oct. 4, 2018. Nearly half of Ontario cannabis users polled have driven under the influence: CAA. Retrieved at

Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis. Retrieved at

Wettlaufer et al (2017). Estimating the harms and costs of cannabis-attributable collisions in the Canadian provinces. Retrieved at:

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