Collingwood’s pot problem

Two months from now, Canada’s federal government will make marijuana legal. Laws will allow it to be sold in private stores, smoked, eaten and even grown in your home. There will be retail stores and online sales. And the next council will have to deal with it.

But before then, our council should have discussed it and given the public some inkling as to what is planned here. Should have held public debate about where it could be sold – offered some suggestions for changes to our planning bylaws and Official Plan. Should have brought in someone from the police to publicly explain what policies about public safety will be in place for enforcement and control. Yet not even a staff report has been made public.

With only a few months to go before legalization, Collingwood has done nothing to prepare itself for what promises to be a significant change and challenge. That’s irresponsible.

The Ontario government will make more details known about its plans this week at the AMO conference in Ottawa – but as Bloomberg noted in a recent story, better-prepared municipalities have already made plans to deal with legalization:

Richmond Hill Mayor David Barrow told BNN Bloomberg in an interview Wednesday his municipality will choose to opt-out of permitting cannabis retail sales.

Did you even know Collingwood could opt out? If not, it’s because our council has been silent on the whole issue of marijuana sales. Is it better for Collingwood to allow sales or opt out? What rules should there be for the location of stores if we stay in? We haven’t heard anything and certainly haven’t had any public meetings where residents could be consulted about how they think it should be done here.

Well, okay, you weren’t consulted over the privatization of our electricity utility, the attempted privatization of our water utility, the privatization of our airport, or the decision by Brian Saunderson and his cabal to block the hospital’s much-needed redevelopment, so there’s little reason to think they would hold a public meeting now. I would expect if they do anything at all, it will be another autocratic dictate decided behind closed doors without any public engagement as they always do with major issues.

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