Province to choose location for pot store
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.