Allow cannabis sales in Barrie, report recommends

Wondering what the new era of legal cannabis might mean to you? The Barrie Police Service has released some details. Click here for a City Scene story.

Getting into the pot retailing business should be high on the city’s list of things to do, according to a staff report.
The report, prepared by Dawn McAlpine, general manager of community and corporate services, recommends that provincially licensed cannabis stores be allowed to sell their wares in the city, and that if the recommendation takes root, a third of any funding coming from the province go to “increased costs associated with road safety and illegal cannabis storefront enforcement.”
The other two-thirds, says the report, should go to funding additional resources, including “increasing the number of Municipal Law Enforcement Officers as deemed appropriate to address matters related to smoking regulations.”
Other identified resources include litigation and prosecutorial research, and additional court resources to address charge volume.
Cannabis became legal Oct. 17 of last year. The previous Liberal provincial government was preparing a system whereby cannabis would be sold from provincial stores, but when elected the Doug Ford government elected to have cannabis sales handled through private retail locations. Municipalities can decide to opt-in/out of the system, saying yes or no to selling cannabis within their boundaries. They have to decide if they are in or out by Jan. 22.
“The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 and the Cannabis Act, 2017 were amended to clarify where the smoking and vaping medicinal and recreational cannabis is permitted as well as where it is prohibited, such as in enclosed public places and enclosed workplaces, vehicles and boats,” states the report.
“The maximum fine for using cannabis in a prohibited place would be $1,000 for a first offence, and $5,000 for a subsequent offence, the same fines that apply to smoking tobacco or using an electronic cigarette in a prohibited place.”
Retail stores will be required to be “stand-alone” locations, open 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. Employees will need to be trained to conduct “responsible sales.” The government is planning a lottery to “determine who is eligible for the initial cannabis retail store licences to legally operate in Ontario … municipalities and the public (will have) a 15-day notification period of a proposed store site to receive public input,” says the report.
In recommending cannabis sales in Barrie, the report says that if the City opts-out, “individuals seeking to legally purchase cannabis would be required to use the online platform to acquire it. Given the timing for delivery, cannabis use would need to be pre-planned well in advance.
“If individuals had not pre-planned their purchase, they may turn to the illegal market to obtain cannabis. The individuals would then be subject to significant risk associated with the often contaminated and unregulated product that is sourced from criminal organizations.
“The intent of a legalized product and sales is to combat this criminal market and reduce access for youth, one of the groups the most at risk from the harms of cannabis.”
The report says that in the interest of public health and safety, cannabis stores should not be permitted in the following:
• Areas that already have a high concentration of such stores or with retail outlets selling alcohol (ie. “clustering” of stores should be avoided)
• Locations that have insufficient parking or transit access
• Locations that are not pedestrian-friendly
• Locations that are on residentially zoned lands or within 50 metres of residentially zoned lands. 
Cannabis legislation mandates that retail stores be at least 150 metres away from schools, however the report says “in order to help ensure public health and safety, protect youth and reduce illegal sales,” pot stores should not be located within 300 metres of the following sensitive uses that are designed to serve youth and/or vulnerable populations: 
• Schools 
• A Georgian College location
• Parks and Open Spaces
• Addiction facilities such as Alcohol and Detox Treatment Centres/Clinics
• Day Nurseries/Child Care Centres
• Libraries
• Community Centres/Arenas
• Mental Health/Addiction. 
The City is due to receive a payment of $136,869 from the province this month, if it opts-in, and only $5,000 if it opts-out. If the City is in, it will receive a second payment on a per-household basis.