Pubdate: Thu, 14 Dec 2017
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Toronto Star
Author: Simon Martin
Page: GT1


Politicians voice their concerns over 'little information' available,
possible impact on community

A number of York Region mayors have come out against proposed
marijuana stores in their municipalities.

East Gwillimbury Mayor Virginia Hackson has joined regional colleagues
Richmond Hill Mayor Dave Barrow and Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti in
speaking out against the possibility of a marijuana dispensary coming
to the municipality.

"My concern at this point is there is so little information about what
it would look like. What are rules and regulations?" Hackson said.

"I don't think we should be one of the first ones out

Last month, Ontario named 14 cities to have the first LCBO-run
recreational marijuana stores. The province intends to open 40
stand-alone stores by July 2018, an additional 80 by July 2019 and 150
by 2020.

Vaughan is the first to be identified in York Region where the city
has created an inter-departmental cannabis working group.

Asked about the issue at a recent public meeting, Mayor Maurizio
Bevilacqua refused to commit the city to a legal marijuana store by
July 1.

"We respect the law, but we need the resources to make sure we can
facilitate the implementation of the law," Bevilacqua said.

"We need to really look at the impact this will have on our

"I think the feds and the province have to come up with a plan that
will also address financial downloading that occurs when such a new
law is implemented."

The town of Richmond Hill got the ball rolling at a committee meeting
Dec. 4, when councillors unanimously passed a motion to advise
Ontario's attorney general and local MPPs that the municipality is
"not a willing host of a cannabis retail location."

The motion was in response to residents' emails and delegations to
council expressing concern about keeping children and the community

A staff report said the province has not provided municipalities with
sufficient time to identify issues and the impact on the communities -
such as where cannabis may be used, how pot use in private homes will
be addressed (particularly in multi-residential housing), how the
odour could impact backyard enjoyment and the need for municipalities
to control where stores are located to address community concerns.

"We are not interested," Barrow said at a committee of the whole
meeting last week.

Scarpitti said Markham was asked by the province if it would be
willing to have a marijuana store in the city next year.

"When I was approached, they (the province) indicated Markham could be
one of the first stores that opens one up and I said, 'No.' "

He said there are still a lot of unanswered questions as to how retail
outlets will be integrated into a community.

- - With files from Tim Kelly,
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MAP posted-by: Matt