Bracebridge is prepared to opt-in to local pot sales.

Town council agrees allowing local retail marijuana shops would be good business for the town, however that decision will still need to be ratified one last time at next Wednesday’s meeting.

The decision comes after the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario announced only municipalities with populations over 50,000 would be allowed to participate in the first retail cannabis lottery. This means Bracebridge is not likely to see a brick-and-mortar store until the Ford Government is prepared to offer more sellers licences beyond the first 25.

Speaking with Mayor Graydon Smith called the decision disappointing and confusing, adding he’s not in favour of smaller municipalities being left out in the cold by the province.

Provincial officials have defended the 25-store lottery decision, saying the short supply of marijuana in Canada would make it very difficult for more stores to stay in business. The application period for that lottery is closed and the first 25 locations in Ontario are expected to be announced this weekend. The stores will be allowed to open in April.

Gravenhurst council will decide next week to opt-in or out. Town staff is advising council to approve local sales because the community would benefit from the $12,000 in marijuana sales tax funds filtering down from the province. That meeting runs next Tuesday starting at 2:00pm.

All Ontario municipalities have until January 22nd to make a final decision on allowing local brick-and-mortar marijuana sales.