Pubdate: Wed, 27 Sep 2017
Source: Record, The (Kitchener, CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Metroland Media Group Ltd.
Author: Shawn Jeffords
Page: A5


TORONTO - Mayors across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area came to
Premier Kathleen Wynne Tuesday looking for advice on how to handle the
transition to legalized recreational marijuana with less than a year
to go before the law changes.

But Wynne said despite introducing Ontario's legalization framework
earlier this month, the provincial government is still working to
answer key questions about the proposed rules, including where stores
will be located, how enforcement will be handled and the kind of
resources that will flow to municipalities.

"The challenges are complex, right from the siting of stores to the
enforcement in public spaces," Wynne said. "We need to make sure that
as resources flow to municipalities, which they will have to do, we
want to make sure they get to the right level of government."

Wynne says some of the questions raised could be answered during a
fall summit planned with police agencies to discuss enforcement. While
municipalities are looking to the province for answers, there are
still many questions the province has for the federal government
before recreational marijuana is legalized next summer, she said.

"The conversations (between) the municipalities and the province
mirrors the conversation that we're having with the federal
government," she said. "We don't have all the information that we need."

The federal government introduced legislation in April with a goal of
legalizing and regulating the use of recreational pot by July 1, 2018,
but left it up to individual provinces to design their own
distribution system and usage regulations.

Ontario's Liberal government this month announced its plan to sell
recreational marijuana in as many as 150 dedicated stores run by the
province's liquor control board and setting the legal age to buy the
drug at 19. Consumption of legal weed will not be allowed in public
spaces or workplaces and will be confined to private residences under
Ontario's proposed legislation.

The new regulations will also contain language allowing police to
confiscate small amounts of pot from those under 19 without incurring
criminal charges.

Toronto Mayor John Tory, who attended Tuesday's meeting, said he's
concerned municipalities will have to bear the cost of enforcing the
new laws while the province will score the windfall of lower costs to
the provincial court system as marijuana prosecutions disappear.

Tory wrote Wynne earlier this summer and asked that the city not be
forced to shoulder the costs of legalization and raised concerns about
community safety and public health.

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown said the Liberal
government has rushed its legalization framework and has not addressed
community safety concerns. Leaders in the policing community have said
there will be new costs associated with legalization, he added.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the Liberal government has created a
"piecemeal" plan that hasn't answered vital questions.
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