Pubdate: Wed, 22 Nov 2017
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Kathryn Greenaway
Page: D4


Beaconsfield resident Ben Anson wants the city to take a stand and
prohibit the sale of recreational marijuana within its borders.

With the federal government's July 1, 2018, deadline to legalize
recreational marijuana looming and the Quebec government in the throes
of hammering out the finer details of tabled Bill 157 - the
legislation that will govern pot sales in the province - Anson wants
the public to pay attention to what he sees as the potential social
and public health problems.

"More access equals more accidents," the father of three said before
the Monday council meeting. Anson was set to present his request at
the first council meeting since the new council was sworn in.

He points to spikes in traffic accidents and drug overdoses in
Colorado since recreational use of marijuana was legalized there in

He said Beaconsfield recently amended a bylaw to ban pet shops. "The
city did that to prevent puppy mills from coming here. They could
amend it again to include the banning of marijuana shops."

The same bylaw also prohibits billiards halls, gambling
establishments, shooting galleries, breweries and massage parlours in

In an interview, Mayor Georges Bourelle said Anson's push for a ban is
premature because municipalities still don't know what final form Bill
157 will take nor how it will be implemented.

"There has been so little pushback, it's really discouraging," Anson
said. "Alcohol and tobacco have been around for a long time and have
become a regulated part of our society," but are still responsible for
"horrible health and social issues," he said.

"Do we really want another societal ill pressed upon

Anson's hope is to launch a grassroots movement against the idea. "If
enough citizens stand up and speak to their council members, maybe we
can prevent having this forced on us," he said.

The Quebec government is considering opening 15 pot shops throughout
the province initially, at locations to be decided. Anson is worried
that the Societe quebecoise du cannabis will find Beaconsfield's
affluence and proximity to the highway ideal for a shop location.

Bourelle doesn't agree.

"I think when the government takes a look at where these 15 shops will
be located throughout the province, Beaconsfield will not be a
priority," the mayor said.

Bourelle said municipal mayors are settling in to their jobs following
the election and that the subject would probably be broached at the
next Association of Suburban Municipalities meeting and at the
Montreal Agglomeration Council meetings as well.

He said banning pot sales would probably just lead people to buy pot
online or through the black market.

"Once there is government legislation in place, at least we will have
better control over its sale," Bourelle said.

"We must come to terms with the fact that marijuana is a fact of life
- - like tobacco and alcohol. The best we can do is put in place some
strict parameters."
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