City of Guelph
The study area focuses on the City of Guelph found in central southwestern Ontario (Figure 1). Located approximately an hour west of the Greater Toronto Area, Guelph has been approved for a marijuana dispensary by the Provincial Government to be opened when cannabis becomes legalized in July of 2018 (LCBO, 2017). Guelph has a population of over 130,000 people and is cited as one of the fastest growing cities in Canada (Statistics Canada, 2017). Guelph's population growth of 8.3% from 2011 to 2016 and unemployment rate of 6.1% illustrate the financial stability hosted by the municipality (Statistics Canada, 2017). Also supporting Guelph's case for a dispensary would be the overwhelming percentage of the population between the ages of 20 and 60 years old (56.6%), derived from a university geared city (Statistics Canada, 2017). With the city's approval for the development of a dispensary, the City of Guelph must determine the most suitable location for the storefront while accounting for a variety of hard and soft limits. Such limitations include proximity to schools, parks, existing LCBO storefronts and other relevant criteria derived from legislation and publications produced by the City of Guelph, the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada. The initial model is concentrated on Guelph as it is an expanding city with low unemployment levels (Statistics Canada, 2017), an ideal factor for the Provincial Government when determining which municipalities are approved a dispensary (LCBO, 2017).
Figure 1: Study area indicating the City of Guelph's land use patterns.