The Hamilton Spectator’s View: City Council Conundrum Over Legal Cannabis Retailers

Article by Hamilton Spectator

The Spectator’s view: City council conundrum over legal pot retailers Saying no to legal dispensaries isn’t a sustainable option, which means Hamilton councillors have their work cut out for them. Reality is that postal delivery alone won’t meet Hamilton consumer’s demand for cannabis. - Jeff McIntosh,The Canadian Press

It is entirely understandable that some members of Hamilton city council are frustrated, even angry, with the provincial government’s plan to launch legal cannabis dispensaries.

Municipalities specifically asked for a 450-metre buffer zone around schools. Even that — nearly a half kilometre — doesn’t sound like a lot in the interests of making it difficult for underage students seeking cannabis. But the Ford government thumbed its nose to that and will impose a 150-metre buffer zone.

Towns and cities also wanted some regulatory authority. In Hamilton’s case, that would have manifested in the ability to licence dispensaries, as is the case with most other businesses. Granting a business licence, and suspending when necessary, gives local government a degree of control over where businesses set up shop and also provides a lever to influence owners who aren’t following the rules or standards.

Again, Doug Ford and friends said no, at least that’s what it looks like now. Hamilton planning chief Jason Thorne puts it this way: “It’s pretty clear, at the local level, there is going to be little to no regulatory authority.”

This arrogant approach, which is entirely insensitive to local concerns and decision-making, is pretty much how the Ford government operates. If you don’t believe that, just look at Toronto city council.

Read the full article here.

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