Huntsville council has approved selling recreational weed in town.

Municipalities have until January 22nd to tell the Ontario government whether or not they’ll be opting in or out of having private cannabis stores. Council voted to opt-in at Wednesday’s meeting.

The economic benefits of allowing pot stores were touted in a report to council by Economic Development Officer Scott Ovell.

Firstly, the government is setting aside $10 million for the Ontario Cannabis Legalization Implementation Fund. That fund is meant to help communities deal with the transition to legalized recreational pot. Huntsville’s first OCLIF payment would be $13,606.

After that, if Ontario’s cut of the federal excise duty on recreational pot in the first two years of legalization tops $100 million; half of the surplus will be split among the municipalities that opted-in before January 22nd.

Huntsville has joined other area municipalities, such as Armour Township, Algonquin Highlands, and Highlands East in allowing private stores. The councils for other municipalities, such as Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Muskoka Lakes, and Parry Sound have yet to decide on if they’ll allow pot stores in those places.

Private pot stores are expected to start opening cross Ontario on April 1st of next year. However, the provincial government initially will only be handing out 25 licences for those stores on a lottery basis as it takes a phased approach.