Toronto city councillor says wards should be able to opt-out of pot shops

Dec 12 2018, 7:36 pm

Toronto councillor Jim Karygiannis plans to introduce a motion to City Council on Thursday that would allow Toronto wards to opt out of allowing cannabis stores and medical marijuana dispensaries to operate.

Councillor Karygiannis says during the recent election, his constituents told him they did not want pot shops in their neighbourhood.

“They believe that marijuana dispensaries will negatively impact our community,” said Councillor Karygiannis, Ward 22, Scarborough-Agincourt.

City council is already debating whether or not Toronto will permit the sale of cannabis within city limits, thanks to the recently passed Bill 36, which allows municipalities to decide whether or not they would permit the sale of marijuana in their communities.

Municipalities only have until January 22, 2019, to opt out of allowing private cannabis shops, which will be licensed and regulated by the province and will be permitted to operate in Ontario starting April 1.

“If municipalities are permitted to ‘opt out,’ then Wards, which are the size of many of these municipalities, should also have that option,” stated Councillor Karygiannis.  “When it comes to dispensing marijuana, I believe that councillors should listen to their constituents.”

Here in Toronto, Mayor John Tory is in favour of cannabis stores in the city, however, his major concerns are focused around the safety of children and public health. With the upcoming report being discussed this week, Tory wants more power for municipalities to control the locations of private cannabis retail stores.

“I continue to be concerned about safety for children, public health, and the proximity of cannabis stores to places like schools,” said Tory.

“While I don’t believe saying ‘no’ to cannabis retail stores in our city is a practical position, we should be maximizing safety and the protection of children and neighbourhoods from any negative effects that may come about as a result of these stores.”

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