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Mayor says one of the first decisions for new council will be to make a decision on private pot shops

KAWARTHA LAKES-Mayor Andy Letham says a newly elected council will have to make a decision quickly on the status of private pot shops in the City of Kawartha Lakes. “This will be one of the first decisions the new council has to make, probably in December, whether they want to opt in or opt out.” Mayor Andy Letham told the Police Services Board. “It will be very short, very tight for municipalities to opt in or out, I am not sure how fair that is for a new council but there will be no opportunity for public consultation or anything.” Letham said.

Letham was at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO)conference over the weekend and attended a session on the upcoming legalization of pot. He says many of the Mayors in attendance feel this is just another download. “My opinion and everybody’s opinion there (at AMO)is they are just dumping this on the municipalities is what they are doing.” Letham explained.

Letham says from a municipal point of view they are talking about regulating it either through zoning or licensing. “I’m not sure how you would regulate it through zoning, it’s a legal retail business we don’t get involved in where they go or what they do but we can certainly put restrictions on licensing, distance from school and some of the criteria that the government model had before.”

The previous Ontario Liberal Government planned on provincially owned pot shops using a model similar to liquor stores.

According to Letham many of the Mayors at the meeting may take a wait and see approach.  “One of the other things they were talking about is if you opt in you can’t opt out later, obviously if somebody opens up a retail store you can’t change your mind.” Letham explained. “If you opt out there will be a opportunity to opt in at a later date if you change your mind so a lot of them (Municipalities)are taking about maybe the way to go is to opt out for now and see how it goes.”

There’s still a lot of questions that haven’t been answered according to Letham. “It doesn’t sound like they are very on top of how all this is going to play out. But they are also saying not to panic, there’s not going to be reefer madness across the country.”

Even if a community decides against retail outlets, pot will still be available online starting in October.

 

 

 

 

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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