Pubdate: Mon, 30 Oct 2017
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Antonella Artuso
Page: 4


Weed rules still hazy: Councillor

There are still many concerns to address as the provincial government
moves forward this week with its anticipated marijuana legislation,
Councillor Cesar Palacio says.

Palacio, chairman of the Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS)
Committee, said that one such issue is the question of who will
oversee and enforce the growing of pot plants on private property and
the possible exposure of children to this product.

The federal government has set a limit of four marijuana plants per

There also needs to be extensive work done to ensure that the new
LCBO-run cannabis stores aren't located near schools, places of
worship or other sensitive areas, Palacio insisted.

"That's one of the things that the city will be very mindful about,"
Palacio added Sunday.

Canadian Press reported that the province's pot bill will be
introduced Wednesday.

Since the move to legalize recreational marijuana is a "top-down
decision" - with the rules being drawn up by federal and provincial
government - it's important that municipalities have a full seat at
the table, he said.

There's also the matter of bylaw enforcement resources that, as a city
committee heard Friday, are already stretched trying to keep tabs on
Airbnb, Uber, sex spas pretending to be holistic centres, bars that
turn into all-night booze cans and now chickens in backyards.

"We're putting so much pressure (on city bylaw officials) without
having the resources in terms of manpower," Palacio said. "And to have
another layer, and this will be a super layer of enforcement and
oversight, especially as it relates to the cultivation and the
growing, allowing people to grow their own plants within their own
units ... Who is going to enforce that?"

The Kathleen Wynne government has advised municipalities across the
province that it will be working closely with local municipalities
while establishing retail stores for legal recreational marijuana.

Palacio said he was pleased when the Wynne government opted to sell
cannabis through provincially-controlled stores, saying it's the most
socially responsible and public health-minded way to proceed.

The city is cracking down on the many pot dispensaries that have
opened up, and it's expected the provincial stores will be sited in
places were they will be most likely to supplant private operations.

Supporters of pot dispensaries have repeatedly argued that they are a
safe, efficient way to retail recreational marijuana.

Cannabis activist Jodie Emery tweeted last week: "We've known for
YEARS that cannabis & dispensaries reduce #opioid deaths, yet
governments & law enforcement continue raids & arrests - WHY?!"

Palacio said the provincial stores can be held accountable for
maintaining public health and safety. "That's the key," he said. The
federal government intends to make recreational pot legal by July.
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