Article by Ray Spiteri, Niagara Falls Review
Niagara Falls may consider the possibility of licensed cannabis consumption lounges once recreational marijuana is legalized this summer.
Coun. Wayne Thomson said he’s notified Niagara Falls Tourism, of which he’s the chairman, of the provincial government considering allowing such establishments, and asking the public to weigh in on the idea.
“I’ve already sent it to Niagara Falls Tourism to get the feedback from some of the hotels, whether they feel that they’re comfortable with this, or they’re not,” he said.
“This is a very serious situation and it mentions tourism, and I think that they have reacted to our comments down here and they want to know, so I would suggest that we be aware of that on the government website, and that we have a report back to us with respect to (the issue).”
The provincial proposal has been met with optimism by some cannabis activists and municipal politicians who say the government’s approach on where legal weed can be consumed has been too restrictive so far.
Under rules outlined in the fall, the province intends to sell marijuana in up to 150 stores run by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to people 19 and older, with a ban on pot’s consumption in public spaces or workplaces.
In November, the province announced Niagara Falls as a location for at least one initial cannabis retail store by July.
Last week, the province issued a request for public feedback on a slew of regulatory changes proposed to clarify where recreational and medical cannabis can be consumed.
Among them is the possibility of permitting “licensed and regulated cannabis consumption lounges and venues” sometime after legalization in July.
In the proposed places of use regulations under the Cannabis Act, 2017, the Ministry of the Attorney General is also proposing to permit the use of recreational cannabis in hotel, motel and inn rooms; motor vehicles and boats that are used as private residences; and private residences that are also workplaces, subject to some conditions.
The province is accepting feedback on its proposals until March 5.
Comments can be submitted through the Ontario Regulatory Registry website.
Niagara Falls resident Clarke Bitter, who has spoken to council about marijuana-related issues in the past, took to his Facebook page when the province put the call out for public opinion on allowing cannabis lounges.