Pubdate: Fri, 13 May 2016
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Page: 8
Copyright: 2016 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Shawn Jeffords


Mayor John Tory has asked city staff to look into ways of controlling
Toronto's booming pot dispensary industry.

For several weeks, Tory has been publicly lamenting the large number
of marijuana dispensaries growing like weeds in city neighbourhoods.
On Thursday, he fired off a letter to Municipal Licensing and
Standards executive director Tracey Cook asking her to take action.

"The speed with which these storefronts are proliferating, and the
concentration of dispensaries in some areas of our city, is alarming,"
Tory says in the letter.

The mayor calls on Cook to examine ways of regulating the businesses,
specifically as it pertains to being located close to schools and
child-care centres. Tory also asks her to work with Toronto Police
when it comes to enforcement of the law.

"We just can't have allegedly medical marijuana dispensaries popping
up on every street corner in a completely unregulated manner pending a
change in the law," he said. "The law is not changing yet."

At a morning press conference, Tory said the federal government's move
to legalize marijuana has created a grey zone that municipalities
across the country will have to address.

"We have to manage the transition period in a way that doesn't just
throw everything up in the air and say, 'Well, let's just let the
chips fall where they may,'" he said.

Councillors Paula Fletcher and Mary Fragedakis wrote Tory recently,
asking him to take action to regulate the pot shops.

Fletcher says that the city could learn from Vancouver, which has
tackled this issue successfully. Things like ensuring the shops aren't
located within 300 metres of one another, a licensing fee, and
prohibitions of locating near schools would be a good move, she said.

"I'm very pleased (Tory is) asking licensing to look at this," she
said. "It is the wild, wild west. In some places, there's six or seven
shops almost side by side.

"Unless the prime minister gives us a different signal, I think we
should just start regulating the shops."  
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D