Pot plan has may­ors in the weeds

A month after On­tario said LCBO-run stores would sell pot, civic lead­ers won­der where

The Observer (Sarnia) - - FRONT PAGE - DALE CAR­RUTHERS

Warn­ing time is run­ning out to get ready, some South­west­ern On­tario may­ors — wor­ried about the bur­den for their cities — say they’re still in the dark over where On­tario plans to sell pot through its liquor-store mo­nop­oly.

Pre­mier Kath­leen Wynne’s gov­ern­ment says the prov­ince will start with 40 stand-alone mar­i­juana out­lets, run by the LCBO, and an on­line cannabis-sell­ing ser­vice by July 1, when the fed­eral Lib­er­als have vowed to lib­er­al­ize Canada’s pot laws to make recre­ational use le­gal.

But a month after the Wynne Grits rolled out their plan, few de­tails have reached civic of­fi­cials, who worry about poten- tial zon­ing is­sues over where pot can be sold and smoked and the cost of en­forc­ing the law that many fear will fall to them. “What’s hap- pened is the fed­eral, pro- vin­cial gov- ern­ments have made these de­ci­sions with­out re­ally con­sult­ing with us, and now we’re strug­gling,” Sar­nia Mayor Mike Bradley said. “We can’t get clear an­swers.” Bradley was one of the may­ors on a con­fer­ence call with Fi­nance Min­is­ter Charles Sousa and At­tor­ney Gen­eral Yasir

Naqvi after On­tario rolled out its pot plan Sept. 8. Bradley said the con­ver­sa­tion left him be­liev­ing Sar­nia

wouldn’t get one of the first 40

stores — of the 150 planned by

2020 — be­cause the prov­ince will open them in cities, like Lon­don, where il­le­gal pot shops have pro­lif­er­ated.

Lon­don, the only South­west­ern On­tario city where dis­pen­saries op­er­ate, has five of the il­le­gal busi­nesses, in­clud­ing one where any­one 19 or older can buy cannabis prod­ucts, even if they don’t have a med­i­cal li­cence re­quired by the city’s other pot shops.

Po­lice have raided the dis­pen­saries re­peat­edly, only to see them re­open days later.

Bradley

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