Lack of Pot Details 5 Weeks From Legalization ‘Frustrating,’ Ottawa Mayor Says

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Lack of pot details 5 weeks from legalization ‘frustrating,’ Ottawa mayor says By Beatrice Britneff Local Online Journalist (Ottawa) Global News Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Toronto Mayor John Tory are seen during a news conference at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities meetings in Ottawa on Friday, January 20, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

With five weeks to go until recreational marijuana becomes legal in Canada, Ottawa’s mayor says the lack of information and detail about how this major policy shift will roll out in Ontario’s municipalities is “frustrating.”

Jim Watson said on Wednesday he intends to press the province for answers soon.

It will be legal to sell and smoke recreational weed in Canada as of Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government earlier this summer decided to abandon the previous government’s plan to sell marijuana through government-run stores and go with a private retail system, which is scheduled to launch in April 2019.

The province has yet to introduce its cannabis legislation or regulations for that new private pot shop model, which is expected to explain who gets to regulate the number and location of those stores, and who is responsible for regulating them. It’s a big missing piece for the city of Ottawa and the local police force, who are hurrying to get prepared to enforce new cannabis laws.

Depending on when the provincial government introduces that bill this fall, the city could have only six months or less to get its ducks in a row before private stores go live.

“It is frustrating because we have a lot of work to do to get ready for stores to open in April,” Watson told reporters at Ottawa City Hall on Wednesday. “I believe I’m speaking or meeting with the minister of municipal affairs and housing in the next two weeks to stress the importance that we’ve got to get these answers relatively quickly.”

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