Pubdate: Sat, 04 Nov 2017
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The London Free Press
Author: Dale Carruthers
Page: A3


London is one of just three Southwestern Ontario cities selected to
get at least one government-run marijuana outlet by the summer.

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), the agency responsible for
running the new dispensaries, announced the first 14 confirmed cities

The province plans to open 40 stand-alone stores and an online service
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.

"I'm pleased that we're on the front end of the process," London Mayor
Matt Brown said of the Friday announcement.

"I was hoping to hear the news sooner rather than later so we can work
on the planning."

Windsor and Kitchener are the only other Southwestern Ontario cities
included on the initial list.

The other cities are Barrie, Brampton, Hamilton, Kingston,
Mississauga, Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Toronto
and Vaughan.

How many outlets each of the 14 cities is getting, or where the
dispensaries will be located, wasn't revealed Friday.

"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 public will have the opportunity to submit questions and comments
on the intended site before it is confirmed."

Once a site for an outlet is identified, a public notice will be
posted at the property and online.

Brown highlighted the importance of involving the community in the
consultation process.

"I think that any land-use planning issue, we need to take the time to
hear from our community, identify areas of concern and then make sure
that these operations open in areas where they're most appropriate,"
he said.

The announcement comes on the heels of new legislation aimed at
cracking down on illegal pot shops operating after the governmentrun
stores open.

London is the only city in Southwestern Ontario where illegal pot
shops operate. Despite repeated police efforts to crack down on the
unsanctioned business, four of them remain open.

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