Article by Mike Adler, Toronto.com
A proposed marijuana shop near Midland and Finch avenues is getting a heated reception from neighbours who say the dispensary “causes a crisis” in their Scarborough community.
Green Bud Cannabis Inc., preparing to open at 63 Silver Star Blvd., is one of two dozen Scarborough storefront dispensaries awaiting a retail sales agreement (RSA) from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
Eight other Scarborough marijuana shops already have their RSAs and have opened.
Members of a group called the Coalition of Scarborough Offices and Stores Owners and Local Residents saw a public notice on the Silver Star plaza unit last month.
“We were shocked,” said John Lo, a spokesperson, who said the store window notice would be easy to miss and many residents were unaware of the application.
“It’s going to happen to everyone in Scarborough,” as more marijuana shops appear, Lo said.
In its petition, the group, which also gathered 7,000 signatories online, objected to Green Bud’s application because of “the potential health and safety risk it poses to youth, children, tenants and seniors.”
Though selling marijuana to minors in Ontario remains illegal, the Coalition said pot stores in their neighbourhood could lead “to the destruction of many families and encourage gun-related crimes.”
The group brought its petition on Nov. 4 to Scarborough-Agincourt MPP Aris Babikian, promising in a statement “to launch a mass demonstration” if politicians fail to comprehend the problem of marijuana dispensaries.
Babikian, in an interview last week, said he’s “100 per cent against opening any (marijuana) stores in Scarborough-Agincourt or Scarborough,” and will submit the Coalition’s petition to Ontario’s legislature when it returns.
Babikian said he’s written to the AGCO objecting to Green Bud’s location on Silver Star and met AGCO officials to discuss ways to “tighten up” the approval process, but added since AGCO is an independent agency, government can’t interfere with its decisions.
“The province didn’t have a choice. It was the federal government’s decision to legalize (marijuana),” Babikian said.
The owners of Green Bud could not be reached for comment. Renovations in the store appeared to be underway Monday.
Green Bud isn’t the only pot store awaiting approval in the Milliken area. Hoping to open soon are North 80 Cannabis at 25C — 19 Milliken Blvd.; Cannabuds at 2776 Kennedy Rd.; Herbiculture at 3280 Midland, Unit 19 and 20; and Speakeasy Cannabis at 2942 Finch Ave. E.