Pubdate: Mon, 06 Nov 2017
Source: Observer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017, Sarnia Observer
Author: Neil Bowen
Page: A1


Time is running out for Ontario's marijuana plan

Ontario's planning for distribution of recreational marijuana is being
done by the seat of the government's pants, says Sarnia Mayor Mike

On Friday the Ontario government announced the first 14 communities
where LBCO marijuana outlets would be located. Their target is for 40
outlets to open by July 2018 to mach the federal government's date for
legalization of recreational marijuana.

As of July 2019 80 stores will be open and in 2020 there will be 150
across the province.

"Time is getting very tight," said Bradley.

Sarnia is not on the list for the first 14 stores. Those will be in
Barrie, Brampton, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Mississauga,
Ottawa, Sault St. Marie, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vaughan and

There are 440 municipalities and there must be fair distribution, said

In Friday's announcement the Ontario government said there will be
discussions during the coming weeks between the LCBO, the finance
ministry and staff from the 14 municipalities regarding the site
location process for the stand-alone stores.

If the government can only handle working with 14 communities at a
time, it becomes very awkward and a logistics problem, said Bradley.

The NDP community safety and corrections critic Taras Natyshak
released a statement Friday saying the government's plan leaves people
with more questions than answers. The 40-location target for July 2018
cannot possibly meet the demand leaving the flow of unregulated
marijuana open.

Natyshak's statement specifically mentions Sarnia as being left

Bradley said S ar ni a' s odds were low for being named as it appeared
the government was targeting communities with existing marijuana
stores in an effort to eliminate them.

The existing government plan fails to deal with revenue sharing but
municipalities will be dealing with the enforcement cost of new
regulations, said Bradley.

Ontario's proposed legislation will set 19 as the minimum age for
possession, ban the use of marijuana in public spaces, workplaces and
vehicles and according to the government help eliminate illegal stores
by introducing new provincial offences with strict penalties.
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