‘Dropped on the lap of municipalities’: Kingston officials concerned over future of cannabis shops

The one-month anniversary of the legalization of cannabis in Canada is approaching, and over that stretch, many provinces have been ironing out the wrinkles in their unique provincial guidelines.

In Ontario, the source of legal pot is through the province’s online store but in the spring, that’s expected to change, with municipalities voting on whether they will allow for pot shops in their community.

“Our understanding is that we have until mid-January on if we’d want to opt out,” said Bryan Paterson, the mayor of Kingston.

Paterson says there are many questions that have yet to be answered by the provincial government such as the specific distance a store must be from schools and other sensitive areas, and the details surrounding regulations and licensing.

According to Paterson, in January, city council is expected to vote on the matter, which has city Coun. Jim Neill feeling uncertain about the city’s involvement in developing a new market.

“This sounds like it’s being totally dropped on the lap of the municipalities so we’ll have to craft zoning bylaws to try to protect our community,” said Neill.

Neill did not confirm nor deny whether he will vote yes or no to allow pot retail stores in Kingston because he says there’s research to be done on the topic, adding that they are lacking insight from the province.

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