Province to choose lo­ca­tion for pot store

The Peterborough Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - JOELLE KOVACH EX­AM­INER STAFF WRITER

The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment will de­cide where to lo­cate a new cannabis store in Peter­bor­ough, states a new city staff re­port – city coun­cil won’t have any say in the mat­ter.

Peter­bor­ough is get­ting a new gov­ern­ment-run cannabis store by July 1, but it’s un­clear where ex­actly it will be lo­cated.

City coun­cil won’t be al­lowed to weigh in on the choice of lo­ca­tion, states a new re­port that coun­cil­lors will re­view at a meet­ing Mon­day.

That will be up to the province, al­though the gov­ern­ment has said it won’t lo­cate these new stores any­where near schools or home­less shel­ters.

“The fi­nal sit­ing of any lo­ca­tion is a de­ci­sion of the On­tario Cannabis Re­tail Cor­po­ra­tion,” the re­port states.

The re­port, which will be re­viewed by coun­cil­lors Mon­day evening at City Hall, out­lines what it will likely mean to the city to have one of the first 40 gov­ern­ment-run cannabis stores in On­tario.

It also ex­plains which city by­laws will need to be ad­justed – for ex­am­ple, smok­ing by­laws – and how new public health cam­paigns will likely be in­tro­duced in re­sponse to the le­gal­iza­tion of cannabis.

When weed is le­gal­ized on July 1, peo­ple will be al­lowed to pos­sess up to 30 grams of dried mar­i­juana and will also be al­lowed to grow up to four cannabis plants per house­hold.

Then again, peo­ple in Peter­bor­ough will have the op­tion to walk into a store and buy weed rather than grow it.

Not that the store will be ob­vi­ous: the re­port states that sig­nage iden­ti­fy­ing the pot shop “will be very lim­ited”, and no­body un­der age 19 will be al­lowed to buy there.

Fur­ther­more you won’t be able to even see weed for sale if you’re un­der­age.

“The gov­ern­ment pro­poses to de­sign their stores in a way that cannabis can­not be seen by any­one in the store un­til they’ve shown iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and are per­mit­ted to en­ter the area where cannabis can be se­curely dis­played,” the re­port states.

Mean­while the city may also have to re­write by­laws to pro­hibit smok­ing mar­i­juana in public places such as the Riverview Park and Zoo.

Smok­ing to­bacco is cur­rently pro­hib­ited at the zoo and many other public spa­ces: there’s no smok­ing on lands owned by Peter­bor­ough Re­gional Health Cen­tre, for ex­am­ple, or within nine me­tres of the en­trance of any city-owned build­ing.

The city is go­ing to have to add into its by­laws that smok­ing cannabis won’t be al­lowed in those zones ei­ther, states the re­port.

Mean­while Peter­bor­ough Public Health has con­cerns par­tic­u­larly about cannabis com­ing into the hands of young peo­ple, since smok­ing weed af­fects the ner­vous sys­tem and brain de­vel­op­ment.

Hu­man brains are not fully de­vel­oped un­til age 25, states the re­port, and PPH is de­vel­op­ing fur­ther cam­paigns to pre­vent young peo­ple from smok­ing mar­i­juana.

Peter­bor­ough Po­lice have told city staff their big­gest con­cern about the le­gal­iza­tion of cannabis is that they may see an in­crease in peo­ple driv­ing while high.

Yet the re­port doesn’t ex­actly out­line what po­lice plan to do to coun­ter­act that; it says road­side tests are un­re­li­able, since traces of cannabis can of­ten be de­tected from smok­ing weeks ear­lier.

Smok­ing cannabis in public build­ings won’t be al­lowed and po­lice will have the author­ity to va­cate any public space where peo­ple are found smok­ing weed.

If a bar is al­low­ing peo­ple to light up, for in­stance, po­lice can kick ev­ery­one out and un­til charges are laid.

The Ex­am­iner will offer livestream­ing, blog­ging and tweets of the meet­ing on Mon­day. It all be­gins at 5 p.m.

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