Pubdate: Sat, 04 Nov 2017
Source: Barrie Examiner (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017, Barrie Examiner
Author: Cheryl Browne
Page: A1


Province releases list of 14 municipalities to receive green light for
marijuana stores

Green Sprouts Cafe and Vapor Lounge owners allow people to rent bongs
in their shop to vape marijuana.

But all that might change next year since Barrie has been given the
nod and a wink by the province to open one of the first legal cannabis

Located on Chase McEachern Way, cafe owners Chris and Gillian Green
say they plan to maintain their business model and determine if the
legal loophole that allows them to offer vaping on the premises is
squashed by the new federal legislation.

"The ability for cannabis smokers to smoke anywhere is going to be a
lot more restrictive next year," said Gillian. "There won't be
anywhere people can smoke, so we're hoping we can stay open."

The LCBO has listed the initial 14 municipalities on its website that
will open stand-alone marijuana stores next year, and Barrie was at
the top of the list.

"We're the only one in between Vaughan and Sudbury," Barrie MPP Ann
Hoggarth said on Friday.

The province hasn't announced regulations regarding store sizes or if
they will be located in a mall or downtown core.

"All the rules are the same all over Ontario, so all municipalities
have to go along with the rules," she said.

Ideally, marijuana shops won't be located near schools or daycares,

"And not necessarily near liquor stores," she said. "We want the
municipality to help us decide where it should go. The government is
not going to plop one in without talking to the municipality. Our
first concern is about public safety."

Barrie Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood said the proposed legislation
has not yet changed the laws in Ontario.

"Police will continue to enforce the laws surrounding the possession
and use of cannabis," Greenwood said.

Regarding the placement of stores, the chief said city police will be
in on the initial planning stages.

"Over the coming weeks, staff from the Ministry of Finance and the
LCBO will meet with Barrie city officials to discuss the guidelines
and process for siting stores," Greenwood said.

Green Sprouts customer Myles McLeod said he travels across the
province by bus and drops into the Barrie cafe whenever he's in the

"It's bring your own pot; they don't sell it or dispense it," said
McLeod, as he pulled a clear baggie from his briefcase and poured
about a tablespoon of marijuana onto a plastic tray.

"I'm not allowed to share it and you can't give me some, but I can
share this bong device if I like," he said.

McLeod is conflicted about the government's place in the sale of

"It's a monopoly except the government's now acting like the
gangsters. You want government regulations, but they should allow the
small mom and pops to operate the stores," McLeod said.

"They'll know the product and they'll know not to sell high-grade to
someone who doesn't know what they're getting," he said.

The federal government's plan to legalize cannabis by Canada Day 2018
has forced each province to initiate legislation about the sale of the
product to the public.

"Two primary considerations are being used to guide the identification
of municipalities where stores will be located: first to achieve
geographic distribution of stores across the province; and second, to
reduce the number of illegal stores, including dispensaries, currently
operating in Ontario," said Finance Minister Charles Sousa in a statement.

In addition to Barrie, legal pot shops will open in Brampton,
Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Mississauga, Ottawa, Sault Ste.
Marie, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vaughan and Windsor next summer.
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MAP posted-by: Matt