Pubdate: Thu, 18 Aug 2016
Source: North Bay Nugget (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 North Bay Nugget
Author: Gord Young
Page: A1


Legalization will have significant impact on ill-prepared cities and

Municipalities don't appear to be well prepared for the legalization
of marijuana, says one North Bay councillor.

Coun. Mark King said he was struck while attending the Association of
Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference in Windsor this week by how
ill-prepared even the provincial government is for marijuana
legalization in Canada.

"It's probably the biggest issue that I saw there," said King. "It
appears that the provincial government really doesn't seem to be
prepared in any way, shape or form."

King said many conference attendees were talking about the pending
legalization of marijuana in Canada and the impact on cities and
towns. That includes a municipal councillor from southern Ontario who
raised the issue during an AMO panel discussion involving several
provincial cabinet ministers. King said the question focused on how
police services will be affected.

"No one has any idea how this is going to work," he said, noting the
province has indicated it is waiting for Ottawa to pass legislation.
"They're waiting for the federal government to provide the lead."

The federal government plans to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana
and has launched a task force to provide advice on how best to move
forward before legislation is tabled next spring. The government is
also holding online consultations until the end of the month about how
the regulatory system should be designed.

The task force is expected to look at a range of issues, including age
limits, distribution, public safety, taxation, product packaging,
potency and licensing.

But AMO has also put together its own task force to consider the
implications and opportunities of pot legalization for cities and towns.

And with potential impacts on policing, public health and social
services, some municipal officials have suggested cities and towns
should get a share of revenue related to legalization.

"Municipal governments deliver many of the services that will be
impacted by the legalization of marijuana," AMO president Gary
McNamara stated in a release this week. "Policing, licensing, public
health and local economies will all be affected. We need to work with
the provincial and federal governments as legalization moves forward."

That notion was supported by a presentation during the AMO conference
by Ashley Rea Kilroy, executive director of marijuana policy for the
city and county of Denver.

Kilroy discussed Denver's experience with the legalization of
marijuana, telling delegates that it required significant
co-ordination between public services.
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