Legalized marijuana raises many questions: mayor says

Marijuana plants

Troy Shantz

Ontario’s plan to let the LCBO run the first 150 marijuana stores when Ottawa legalizes pot sales next year leaves many questions unanswered, Sarnia’s mayor says.

The first 40 cannabis outlets, which will be separate from liquor stores, will appear next July in areas where “dispensaries” are illegally now selling weed, said Mike Bradley, who participated in a conference call with the Attorney General on Sept. 8.

“They’re going to give notice to us for these locations, but will we have the power to say ‘no’ to them if we don’t like the locations?” he asked. “That’s not clear.”

Bradley said it’s also unclear what, if any, of the revenue the province will rake in will be shared with municipalities to fund the increased cost of enforcement.

“In a border city, I expect places like Sarnia, Windsor… will see an influx of what I call ‘toking tourists,’” he said.

“We need assistance. We should be sharing the revenue just as we did use to share in the slot-machine revenue, no strings attached.”

The legal age for purchase and consumption will be 19, the province said. In addition to the retail locations, marijuana will be available for purchase online through the LCBO.

Consumption will be limited to private homes, the province said.

Meanwhile, the federal government said Friday it is earmarking $274 million for policing and border enforcement associated with legalized recreational pot.

Nearly half of the money would be used to train front-line officers in how to recognized drug-impaired drivers and increase the use of drug-screening devices.

Under proposed federal legislation, police could demand a saliva sample from a driver suspected of having drugs in his or her system.

If the saliva test indicated a possible offence, the driver could be examined by an evaluating officer or required to provide a blood sample.