Article by Robert Benzie, The Toronto Star
Premier Kathleen Wynne insists the province will not let Ontario cities go to pot once the federal government legalizes marijuana next July.
Wynne emerged from a meeting Tuesday with Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area mayors and regional chairs promising a clampdown on illegal storefront “dispensaries” and vowed to help municipalities cope with weed.
“The federal government’s legalization of cannabis, of course, has implications for the province as we move to administer the rules,” the premier told reporters.
“But the legalization of cannabis by the federal government also has implications for municipalities and that was the conversation today. We made it clear that we will work with municipalities.”
Wynne admitted there are still many questions Ottawa must answer — how will marijuana will be taxed? — before Queen’s Park can finalize any plan to aid cities with the new costs.
“One of the mayors said . . . will there be licensing fees that we’ll have access to? Will there be the opportunity for municipalities to raise their own revenues? What will be the resources that will flow from the provincial level to the municipal level?” she said.
“And, quite frankly, those issues are not all worked out, but they raised them and, so, that’s an important piece of this. The issues around zoning were raised as well, and, so, we need to work out exactly what those regimes will be.”
It was the premier’s first meeting with the mayors and chairs since the province announced earlier this month that recreational marijuana would be sold only by the LCBO at up to 150 stores devoted to this purpose or online.