Pubdate: Thu, 27 Jul 2017
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The London Free Press
Author: Rany Richmond
Page: A3


Two city councillors want staff to start figuring out now how London
will handle legal marijuana in a year.

Just getting the zoning rules in place for retail outlets could take
months, Jared Zaifman and Jesse Helmer say in a letter heading to
council's planning and environment committee Monday.

"There's a lot to consider," Zaifman said in an interview. "Jesse and
I have some concerns about the time we as a municipality will need to
prepare for this."

The letter asks council to direct staff to review how other
communities have handled zoning for cannabis sales and consult with
provincial officials, the health unit and police for their approach on

Staff would report back in early 2018 with options that could be put
in place once the legislation is approved by the federal government.

"If municipalities wait for legislation before making policy, it could
be a big problem," Zaifman said.

London could find itself under pressure to allow sales before having
rules and zoning in place, he said.

"We need to make sure we have the policies ready so it's a good

A major consideration: whether the city must create new zoning bylaws
or can use existing ones to authorize places that sell marijuana
products, the letter states.

Zoning amendments can take four to six months to research, consult
with the public, and debate at committee and council, Helmer and
Zaifman write.

The federal government plans to legalize marijuana by July 2018,
leaving the provinces to decide the age of majority and other rules.

Municipalities across Canada are faced with the grunt work of
developing licensing and zoning rules, enhancing public-health
measures and adding to policing and enforcement of rules.
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