July 4th, 2022

Ontario could have more Cannabis stores than Tim Horton restaurants

By Thomas More —

TORONTO — One year ago, there were 1,000 cannabis stores operating in Ontario. That was boosted to about 1,500 as of May. If all pending applications with the Alchohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario are accepted, there will be more than 1,900 cannabis shops. That’s more than Tim Horton restaurants. There are 1,713 Time Horton restaurants operating in the province, according to a Google search. But Ontario might not get to the point of more cannabis than Tim coffees as dozens of cannabis stores are now for sale and some could close down. 

Only 77 Ontario municipalities, concerned about the fallout in their communities, opted not to host pot shops, in Ontario.

Canada legalized cannabis on Oct 17, 2018, and wasted no time promoting the wicked weed across the country. In Ontario, municipalities and townships were wooed with money to allow the selling of government-sanctioned marijuana within their jurisdictions by accessing the Ontario Cannabis Legalization Implementation fund. The province gave $44 million to 367 of 444 municipalities to address the implementation costs that directly related to the legalization of recreational cannabis. Permitted costs include: increased enforcement (e.g. police, public health and by-law enforcement, court administration, litigation) increased response to public inquiries (e.g. 311 calls, correspondence), increased paramedic services, increased fire services, by-law and policy development governing public health and workplace safety.

Typically, the bigger the jurisdiction the more money it got. For instance, the city of Toronto received $9 million but the Greater Toronto area hosts more than 300 cannabis stores, according to the province. There are 171 Tim Horton’s restaurants in the city of Toronto, according to a Google search.

Lower levels of government that agreed to allow cannabis shops were also well paid. For example, the province in total paid the six rural townships in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry $143,000. The province gave another $110,000 to the United County of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.

Some very small jurisdictions also received funding. For instance, the village of Oil Springs (pop. 647) in Lambton County received $20,000. There are no Cannabis shops in Oil Springs.  But there is one just north at Petrolia (pop. 6,013), which also received $20,000.

A Hamilton study looked at how the legalization of cannabis impacted hospital emergency departments six months before and after legalization. The study found no change in overall visits but did find a 56% increase in emergency visits among adults aged 18-29.