Licensing Committee Backs Government’s Pot Plan As Activists Demand Rights To Marijuana Lounges

Article by Kayla Goodfield, CP24

A city committee has backed the province’s pot plan to keep marijuana limited to government-run locations despite pleas from local activists pushing for the legalization of marijuana lounges.

Toronto’s municipal licensing and standards committee spent much of Monday discussing the legalization of pot lounges in Toronto – businesses that do not sell marijuana but provide a space for people to consume it – ahead of the legalization of marijuana in Canada next July.

The committee voted 4-1 to follow the provincial government’s lead, not only denying businesses the permits but supporting stiffer penalties for businesses that allow people to smoke pot on their property.

The owner of a Toronto pot lounge, Abi Roach, spoke at the meeting stating why she believes businesses like hers should be regulated.

“The city of Toronto is a city of renters, a city of people who live in shared dwellings, now more than ever,” Roach said after the meeting. “These people cannot consume in their rental units, they have children, they have elderly people living with them.”

But one councillor said marijuana smoking shouldn’t be treated differently than cigarette smoking.

“We don’t allow it in commercial establishments, we don’t allow it in offices, we don’t allow it in restaurants so any person who smokes a cigarette or cigar today could give me the exact same argument. If you want to smoke marijuana, smoke it in the privacy of your own house,” city councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker told reporters outside the meeting at City Hall.

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