Markham was the first city in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) to pass a by-law prohibiting smoking cannabis in public. The date of this leading act by Council was October 16, 2018 and followed by another vote (12 to 1) Dec. 12 opting the city out of retail stores.

Protecting the health and well-being of local residents while addressing community concerns were some of the reasons given for the move.

“We still have a lot of unanswered questions about community safety, about the impact to families and children,” says Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “This vote by Markham Council reflects the concerns we have heard throughout the community. We have taken this position with the previous government and we applaud the Provincial Government for giving municipalities the choice to opt out.”

The city took advantage of the option by the province to opt out of retail cannabis stores, which will become legal April 1, 2019 – for any city that wants them.

Reid McAlpine, newly elected Ward 3 Councillor had this to say regarding council’s vote, “One of the reasons Markham council opted out of retail stores is that the province would NOT allow us to regulate private retail cannabis stores, if we opted to accept them. We have no idea how many the province might allow or where they might be located.”

They have also requested funding from the province to help mitigate other costs and factors associated with the legalization of Cannabis.

Click here to view the  Cannabis License Act, 2018 and visit for more information.

Photo Credit: Get Budding