March 3, 2019 — Recently, the provincial government of Ontario required all Municipal Councils in the province to hold votes to decide whether to opt-in (allow) or opt-out (ban) of allowing bricks-and-mortar cannabis retail stores in their community. The deadline to hold these votes was January 22, 2019. Conducted from February 6-11, 2019, Pollara’s survey of 2,163 Ontarians reveals that residents of both opt-in municipalities and opt-out municipalities approve of their council’s decision.

From a macro perspective, Ontario’s municipal councils have voted according to the preferences of their communities regarding the decision on whether to opt-in (allow) or opt-out (ban) of allowing cannabis retail stores in their municipality.  Although councils voted differently on the issue, about half of the residents in opt-in municipalities (54%) and opt-out municipalities (53%) approve of their respective council’s decision. Just three-in-ten in the opt-in (31%) and opt-out (33%) communities disapprove of how their municipal council voted. 

However, although they approve of opting out and effectively banning cannabis retail stores in their community, about half (54%) of residents in opt-out communities also support their councils reviewing the experience of opt-in communities and holding another vote on the issue in 12-18 months.  Just 30% oppose holding a review and another vote, preferring to simply continue with the ban. For more information about the study, please see our report. 

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