Potential regulatory framework for marijuana dispensaries to be tabled on June 27
Published Thursday, May 19, 2016 7:58AM EDT Last Updated Thursday, May 19, 2016 3:41PM EDT
Municipal Licensing and Standards Executive Director Tracy Cook will have until June 27 to report back on how the city could regulate the increasing number of marijuana dispensaries operating in Toronto.
Mayor John Tory tabled a motion at today’s meeting of the licensing and standards committee asking that Cook conduct a “review of the current operations of marijuana dispensaries” and provide recommendations on how they could be licensed and regulated at a June 27 meeting of the committee.
Tory’s motion also asked that Cook pay specific attention to how the city could regulate the proximity of dispensaries to schools, educational facilities and childcare facilities.
According to the website TO Dispensaries, there are currently more than 100 marijuana dispensaries operating in the city. This despite the fact that only producers authorized by Health Canada are legally able to sell marijuana in Canada. In Ontario, there are currently just 18 such licensed producers.
“Left unaddressed, the number of these dispensaries will only increase,” Tory’s motion states. “This proliferation brings with it potential health risks for individuals who patronize dispensaries where the substance for sale is completely unregulated.”
The tabling of Tory’s motion comes one day after police began hand-delivering notices to property owners where dispensaries are being operated. The notices warned property owners that “unlawful activity” is taking place on their premises and threatened to “take action” if necessary.
So far, 20 of the notices have been delivered, however police are expected to deliver more in the coming days.
Speaking with CP24 at city hall on Thursday, Marko Ivancicevic of the Cannabis Friendly Business Association said that city is making a mistake by moving to immediately shut down the dispensaries rather than regulating them.
“People will be forced onto the street to buy from the black market which has been pushed aside since the dispensaries have popped up,” he said. “We will be back to where we were six months ago with individuals buying from the streets.”
While the owners of many pot dispensaries have criticized what they perceive as the city’s heavy handed approach other industry advocates have raised issues of their own with the proliferation of illegal dispensaries.
“The biggest issue right now is that the source of marijuana going into dispensaries is all illegal and there is no testing whatsoever,” Adam Saperia of GrowWise Health told reporters at city hall. “Patients have no idea what they are actually getting and what they are actually consuming.”
A number of pro-marijuana advocates had intended to address the licensing and standards committee on Thursday but they were not given the opportunity due to the matter being set aside until June 27.
The federal Liberal government has previously said that they will introduce legislation to legalize marijuana in 2017.