Pubdate: Sat, 04 Nov 2017
Source: Recorder & Times, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Recorder and Times
Author: Sabrina Bedford
Page: A1


Leeds-Grenville was left out in the weeds as the province announced
the first 14 cities that will get government-run pot shops next summer.

The LCBO, the agency responsible for running the new dispensaries,
announced the first batch of selected locations Friday, and though the
area may be home to Tweed, the country's largest cannabis
manufacturing company, you won't be able to buy it at any physical
location throughout the counties.

The closest stores will be located in Kingston and

Despite having no storefronts anywhere in the Leeds and Grenville
area, residents of these and other rural communities will be able to
purchase recreational marijuana online, the LCBO said.

"As of July 2018 there will be an online retail channel that will
service all regions of the province (including Brockville)," Jessica
Martin, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance told The Recorder

Times in an email. She said, however, more storefronts will be opened
in different areas throughout the province in the years to come.

"These are the first municipalities to be identified. Municipalities
will continue to be identified on an ongoing basis."

The province plans to open 40 stand-alone stores to sell recreational
cannabis by July 1, when the federal Liberals are expected to legalize
the drug for recreational use.

The number of stores will grow to 150 by 2020, the province

Other cities in the initial plan include Barrie, Brampton, Hamilton,
Kitchener, Mississauga, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Thunder Bay,
Toronto, Vaughan and Windsor.

More cities will be added to list, the LCBO said.

Friday's announcement didn't specify how many of the stores each of
the 14 cities would be getting or where the dispensaries would be
located within the cities.

"Over the coming weeks, staff from the Ministry of Finance and the
LCBO will meet with staff at the identified municipalities to discuss
the guidelines and process for siting stores and local interests," the
LCBO said in a statement.

"The guidelines will achieve our objectives of protecting youth by
ensuring stores are not in close proximity to schools, while providing
access within communities and addressing the illegal market."

When considering which municipalities to choose for the initial
roll-out, Martin said they wanted to take a "safe and sensible"
approach and considered two main points: To ensure an even geographic
distribution of stores across the province, and to reduce the number
of illegal stores, including dispensaries, currently in operation. The
announcement comes on the heels of new legislation aimed at cracking
down on illegal pot shops operating in Ontario after the
government-run stores open.

Under the proposed law, which would take effect in July 2018, people
caught selling or distributing marijuana could be fined up to $250,000
and jailed up to two years less a day.

Fines for people and dispensaries that continue to break the law would
jump to $100,000 and $500,000, respectively, for every day they keep
selling cannabis.

The law would also give police the power to immediately shutdown
premises they suspect are being used for the illegal sale or
distribution of cannabis.

While Ottawa is moving to liberalize Canada's pot laws, it's up to the
provinces to decide how pot will be sold and distributed.

Adults in Ontario, allowed to possess up to 30 grams, can either buy
it from an approved retailer or grow as many as four pot plants each,
under the federal plan.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt