Article by Francine Kopun, Toronto Star
Toronto council will debate on Thursday whether to opt out of provincial legislation permitting private cannabis stores to operate in the city beginning April 1..“It’s not that we want to ban cannabis sales, but we want some sort of mechanism that gives us local control,” said Councillor Gord Perks (Ward 4, Parkdale—High Park) comparing what’s happened in Toronto so far to the lawless Wild West, with illegal pot stores operating openly..On Oct. 16, the day prior to legalization this year, there were 92 illegal storefronts reportedly operating in Toronto, according to a report by city staff. Despite a crackdown, 11 stores continued to operate illegally as of Nov. 27..“It’s left a bad taste in the mouth of Torontonians. They want to make sure they have access to a process to control how this happens,” said Perks..Under provincial legislation, private cannabis stores can open in Ontario beginning April 1, but municipalities are allowed to vote to opt out. They have until Jan. 22 to decide. Richmond Hill and Markham are considering motions to opt out, after banning recreational smoking or vaping of cannabis in public.