Legalization Implementation Fund

WINCHESTER – Upper and lower-tier governments in the region will be taking in a three-year influx of cash to combat the illegal marijuana market.

It all comes as part of the provincial government’s $6.74 million portion through the Ontario Cannabis Legalization Implementation Fund and a further $3.26 million to support municipalities with enhanced enforcement.

“Municipalities are important partners in the implementation of recreational cannabis legalization,” Rob Phillips, finance minister, said during the funding unveiling. “We look forward to continuing to work together to protect our youth and communities, and combat the illegal cannabis market.”

The implementation fund was first announced in 2018 as a $40 million initiative throughout two years to help municipalities with upstart costs.

As such, $30 million was handed out earlier this year, while $10 million more was set aside to cover costs of unforeseen circumstances of legalization, especially in municipalities that didn’t opt-out of allowing retail stores.

These grants will be allocated annually in three installments, with North Dundas taking in $6,115, $7,482, and $5,000. The Municipality of South Dundas’ payments are $6,293, $7,600, and $5,000, while North Stormont’s are three-straight $5,000 transfers and South Stormont’s are $7,007, $8,573, and $5,000.

In Glengarry County, the south-end will take in $7,584, $9,279 and $5,000, while the north will see allotments of $6,214, $7,602 and $5,000.

Cornwall makes up the largest transfers in the region, at $56,315, $68,903 and $28,710.

There is also a further $3.0 million going to the OPP for enhance enforcement through provincial joint forces cannabis enforcement teams.

“I am happy that we are able to help police deal with illegal recreational cannabis availability in smaller communities,” SD&SG MPP Jim McDonell said.

The latest funding unveiled comes at the same time the province rolled out the next batch of marijuana sales licences through its co-ordinated lottery-style system.