Pubdate: Sat, 13 Jan 2018
Source: Peterborough Examiner, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 Peterborough Examiner
Page: A4


A legal pot shop will open in Peterborough this summer and what a
report that goes to city council Monday night reveals is that most of
the local impacts are still unknown.

One concern for some municipalities is that they have no say on where
marijuana stores locate.

It's an old irritation: because municipalities are "creatures of the
province" zoning regulations cities normally use to direct where a
business can set up shop don't apply. Fortunately, that's not really a

Pot shops scheduled to open in Peterborough and 39 other Ontario
cities will be owned and operated by the Ontario Cannabis Retail
Corp., a subsidiary of the LCBO.

The LCBO has promised to stay away from schools or other places where
young people gather and be sensitive to community concerns.

At the same time, the stated reason for legalizing pot is to wipe out
the illegal market. Stick the store in an industrial park and
competing with street sellers becomes much more difficult.

The LCBO gets all that, as evidenced by where it puts liquor stores.
It will no doubt come up with a suitably safe and convenient location.

Costs and revenue to cover them are another focus of the city

Ottawa's latest estimate is that a $1-per-gram federal excise tax and
HST will generate $1 billion or more annually in the long run but
about $400 million a year initially.

The provinces will get at least 75 per cent of that revenue. Ottawa's
25-per-cent share is capped at $100 million so if the total tax take
exceeds $400 million the provinces do better.

At $400 million nationally Ontario would get $120 million - lots of
cushion to give those 40 municipalities enough cash to cover
additional policing and enforcement costs.

City police can't say at this point what those costs might be, or how
big an issue pot-impaired driving might become.

A provincial-municipal cost sharing formula can be worked out pre-July
1 and adjusted later.

Ottawa and Queen's Park should also be ready to adjust pricing on
short notice. The opening prices, with taxes, will be about $11 a gram
in Ontario. If the black market reacts by cutting prices government
outlets will have to compete.

Provinces control what products will be sold and Ontario has,
strangely, allowed only dried marijuana that must be smoked and
marijuana oil. Baked goods or other food items containing pot are taboo.

That's an inducement to smoking, the least healthy way to get high and
one that carries the highest social cost in terms of pressure on
health services.

Ontario is one of very few jurisdictions - maybe the only one - to
legalize marijuana but not edibles.

That regulation needs a quick adjustment.
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MAP posted-by: Matt