Pubdate: Mon, 18 Sep 2017
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Antonella Artuso
Page: 4


Cannabis lounge owner wants city to licence businesses like her

Provincial rules limiting recreational pot use to private property
aren't going to work in the City of Toronto where people are more
likely to rent or live close to each other, a cannabis lounge owner

Abi Roach, a director of the Cannabis Friendly Business Association
(CFBA) and owner of Hotbox, plans to ask a city committee Monday to
licence cannabis lounges.

The Ontario government recently unveiled its new regulations for
recreational marijuana, expected to be legalized next year, that
include sales only through LCBO-affiliated stores and strict limits on
where the product can be consumed.

Roach said confining cannabis use to private property might work in a
rural setting, but the restriction makes no sense in an urban
environment like Toronto.

People are unlikely to want to smoke pot in the same home with their
children or an elderly parent, especially in smaller dwellings, she

Hundreds of thousands of people who rent their homes, many in shared
accommodations, will not be permitted to use marijuana on the
property, she said.

"You try and find an apartment on Craigslist that has smoking
allowed," Roach said. "Then there are the 1.5 million tourists who
come to our city every year and are going to expect legal cannabis,
they're going to buy it, and they're going to go to their non-smoking
hotel rooms."

The solution would be to allow licenced cannabis lounges where people
could use the product, and be introduced to safer consumption methods
- - such as vaping - without exposing neighbours to smoke, she said.

Roach argued the government has combined the restrictions that
currently apply to tobacco and alcohol into an even stricter regime
for marijuana. Unlike alcohol drinkers, marijuana users will not be
able go into a public bar-like setting to consume the product. Tobacco
users can smoke on public sidewalks and open outside spaces, but not
recreational marijuana users, she said. "Cannabis consumers are now
being hit as if we're demons," she said.

The City of Toronto Licensing and Standards Committee meets Monday to
consider staff recommendations on cannabis legalization.

The report recommends City Council endorse the province's plan for
government-run pot stores and seek input on where those retail outlets
are located within Toronto.

"This model is preferred as it is a stronger regulatory mechanism than
a private retail model, and would allow the province to closely
oversee the operations of retailers and ensure that they operate in a
responsible and accountable manner to uphold public health and
safety," the report says.

Council should also ask for financial support to enforce the
prohibition of cannabis sales at the non-sanctioned pot dispensaries
that have popped up all over the city, the report says.
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