Pubdate: Thu, 08 Jun 2017
Source: Expositor, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Brantford Expositor
Author: Vincent Ball
Page: A1


Zoning bylaw amendments to prohibit retail outlets until marijuana

City councillors are putting in place a temporary prohibition on pot

On Tuesday night, councillors voted unanimously in favour of zoning
bylaw amendments that prohibit cannabis (marijuana) retail outlets in
the city. The amendments also apply to county land that has come under
the jurisdiction of the city as a result of the Jan. 1 Brantford-Brant
County land deal.

The decision will come before council for final approval on June 27.
The measures will remain in place until federal and provincial
legislation is developed following the expected legalization of
marijuana in 2018.

The prohibition relates to stores or retail outlets selling
recreational marijuana. Medicinal marijuana is already regulated by
federal law.

"I would like to thank staff for bringing this forward," Ward 3 Coun.
Greg Martin said. "My fear was that it (the sale of recreational
marijuana) would be legalized before we got something in place.

"This prevents this from happening and buys us the time we need to
make sure we don't end up with a serious problem."

Councillors said they were worried about stores opening in the city to
sell recreational marijuana with no guidelines or rules in place. They
said they want regulations in place to enable them to control where
stores can open, as well as the authority to address a range of other
issues, including parking.

Specifically, councillors said they want rules in place that would
prevent such stores from opening near schools or other places used by

At present, the city has no regulations or rules in place for pot

The issue came to the forefront in February when a Cannabis Culture
store opened on Colborne Street in West Brant. The store was closed
following two raids and arrests by Brantford police and has not re-opened.

The outlet's opening highlighted issues that are normally the concern
of a municipality with respect to any commercial operation, including
parking. Although there was some parking available at Cannabis Culture
site, some of the store's customers parked at an adjacent retail outlet.

Ward 1 Coun. Rick Weaver said that, earlier this year, a marijuana
retail outlet opened near the Lansdowne Children's Centre and parking
became an issue.

Weaver said he wants to know the cost to the city of the police
efforts which led to the shut down of Cannabis Culture. His question
will be addressed at an upcoming meeting of the Brantford police
services board.

In developing the zoning bylaw amendments, city officials reviewed the
approach taken by other cities and held a public consultation session,
which attracted a handful of people.

Meanwhile, Mayor Chris Friel outlined for council discussions that are
taking place about the issue between representatives of the
Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the provincial government.

He said that a number of issues need to be addressed, including
licensing and zoning.

The zoning amendments brought to councillors this week were in
response to a request from Friel.

Last May, he predicted that the opening of marijuana stores would
become an issue for Brantford, just as it had become an issue for
other Canadian cities.

Friel also said the city needs to talk with Brant County and Six
Nations about opportunities created by the legalization of marijuana.

"I've talked to tobacco farmers and I've been told that this -
marijuana - could be a cash crop that could keep a family farm going
for two more generations," Friel said.

Councillors also were told that city staff will be looking at
regulations governing marijuana production facilities in the coming

At present, there is one marijuana production facility operating in an
industrial area of the city, which is allowed under existing municipal
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