Hamilton Looks for New Ways to Crack Down on Pot Dispensaries

Article by Samantha Craggs, CBC News

Britney Guerra serves customers at Cannabis Culture Hamilton, her new recreational marijuana dispensary in the International Village.

In Cannabis Culture on King Street East in the International Village, there’s an earthy smell of pot smoke thick in the air.

Behind the counter, employees hand out marijuana orders in paper bags to anyone 19 or older. One customer sits at a table, smoking a fragrant joint and watching the news on a big screen TV.

At another table, a man prepares to light up. “This is all peaceful,” he says, lifting his arms at the room. “I come in after work and relax.”

Not everyone is this relaxed about this outlet and the increasing number of marijuana dispensaries around the city — a number police say is now 15 and increasing. The federal government will soon produce new legislation legalizing pot. Until then, dispensaries are illegal, and the city wants to crack down.

A new task force of city staff is looking at how, but it’s a tangled issue. Right now, said licensing head Ken Leendertse, it’s a policing issue. “We can’t license illegal businesses.”

But the city is looking at how to use property standards, zoning, or even the sign bylaw to regulate dispensaries. Some places serve edible pot products. Maybe public health could enforce that.

Read full article here.

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