Pubdate: Fri, 29 Dec 2017
Source: Daily Observer, The (Pembroke, CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Pembroke Daily Observer
Author: Sean Chase
Page: A1


Renfrew County councillors have more questions than answers when it
comes to the impending legalization of marijuana by both the federal
and provincial Liberal governments.

Earlier this month, legislation giving the provincial Liberals a
monopoly on recreational marijuana sales in Ontario passed at Queen's
Park. The bill creates a provincial agency that will distribute and
retail pot through storefronts and online. It also creates stiff fines
that could top $1 million against companies and people who sell
marijuana in defiance of the government monopoly.

For municipalities, the bill gives them the power to close pot shops
as soon as their owners are charged, even if they have not been
convicted. It also sets the minimum age to buy pot in Ontario at 19
and bans cannabis use in public places, workplaces and vehicles.

Currently, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario is asking that
a share of the tax revenue from cannabis sales be dedicated to
municipal governments. The province aims to open 40 marijuana
storefronts next year. However, Warden Jennifer Murphy told council
they still have no idea how the revenue model will work.

"Will a guardian like the LCBO be able to tax more or will it be set
by the feds," said Murphy. "It will be interesting to see how it works
out because it is a federal model but administered by the provinces."

AMO is also warning that municipal planning and zoning may be impacted
by the legalization of marijuana depending on the sales and
distribution model. They have told the province that municipalities
need to have a say where these operations are located for the well
being of our communities. Renfrew Reeve Peter Emon added that there
are two different sets of regulations for commercial marijuana
production and medical marijuana production that will cause confusion
for municipal staffs.

"They should really square that off so it is consistent," he

Recreational marijuana use is to be legalized across Canada by July 1,
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