Hamilton Council Tries to Control Pot Dispensaries

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Hamilton council tries to control pot dispensaries Councillors will also vote whether to declare last week's flood a disaster so homeowners can get grants

Hamilton city council is looking into a new law Wednesday that would prevent too many marijuana dispensaries from opening in one place.

Jason Farr, Ward 2 councillor, says some areas of the city have “a clear over-concentration of marijuana dispensaries.” He successfully urged council to support a radial separation bylaw that would limit how many can open in one area.

The city can’t do it right now because the businesses aren’t legal yet, Farr said in his motion.

But he wants it ready for when marijuana is legalized federally in 2018. He also wants it ready for if the province hands out marijuana distribution permits, and the dispensaries suddenly become legal.

Marijuana dispensaries have been a thorny issue for city officials. Already, there are at least 15. Most are in the lower city, and the majority are in Farr’s downtown-area ward.

They’ve raised the ire of people like Susie Braithwaite, executive director of the International Village BIA. The area has a new image, she says. She’d rather it wasn’t overrun with pot dispensaries.

Matthew Green, Ward 3 councillor, voted for Farr’s motion. But he says he supports small business dispensaries getting a piece of the lucrative industry. He’s not in favour of “criminalizing people,” he said, in “a murky grey area of law.”

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