Pubdate: Wed, 29 Jun 2016
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Page: GT2
Copyright: 2016 The Toronto Star
Author: Betsy Powell


Licensing Committee Defers Debate Until October

The city of Toronto won't regulate rogue pot dispensaries anytime 
soon, after the licensing committee voted this week to defer the 
issue until the fall, touching off a brief but noisy protest at city 
hall. Last month, Mayor John Tory asked staff to look at ways of 
regulating the marijuana dispensaries popping up in some parts of the city.

Police and city enforcement staff followed through on his call for a 
crackdown by shutting down dozens of shops and laying numerous 
criminal and bylaw infraction charges.

Some stores have reopened, but the city and police have vowed to 
continue to enforce the law until Ottawa legalizes pot as promised.

Licensing staff, after consulting the legal department, concluded the 
city didn't have authority to regulate the sale of medical or 
non-medical marijuana.

Their report noted, however, that Vancouver passed a bylaw regulating 
medical marijuana businesses, though many applying for the new 
licence do not meet the zoning requirements.

Staff recommended reporting back to the committee on Oct. 25 "with an 
updated review of the legislative landscape." The federal government 
must revise or replace the medical marijuana law by Aug. 24, after 
the federal court declared it invalid.

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, a member of the licensing committee, 
led a motion on Monday to defer the debate until fall, arguing it was 

"Until the federal government actually legalizes marijuana, 
municipalities are not in the position of legalizing them, and that's 
what people just don't understand," Mammoliti said outside the 
committee room while pot advocates hurled insults his way.

"You're driving this back underground," scolded one pot dispensary owner.

Councillor Jim Karygiannis was the lone committee member to vote 
against deferring, saying the city needs to end costly enforcement 
actions immediately.

"We have to go back to the drawing board . . . stakeholders have to 
be at the table to discuss and have a rational approach on how to 
move forward," Karygiannis said, flanked by representatives of the 
Toronto Dispensaries Coalition.

The coalition is hoping to work with the city to bring forward "safe, 
sensible and reasonable regulations that will be best for 
Torontonians," said spokesman Michael McLellan.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom