City council votes in favour of hosting privately run cannabis stores

By News staff

Toronto city council has voted 20-4 in favour of allowing privately run cannabis stores to operate in the city.

City staff recommended that councillors vote in favour of hosting the stores, saying opting out would have had “the unintended consequence of encouraging the illegal market” while cutting the city off from a potential revenue source.

Council also voted in favour of a motion put forth by Mayor John Tory to ask the province to restrict location of marijuana retailers.

The Progressive Conservative government has given municipalities until Jan. 22 to decide whether they want to opt out of hosting the stores, which are set to open in April.

On Wednesday both Mississauga and Markham voted to opt out of having weed stores in their respective communities.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Markham’s Frank Scarpitti both said there are too many unanswered questions, and Crombie further argued that the province didn’t give cities enough say in how the rollout would take place.

Despite supporting pot shops, Tory seemed to agree with Crombie that municipalities haven’t been given enough control over the process.

“The City of Toronto and other cities should be given some latitude to work within those regulations to prevent a clustering of marijuana stores … to prevent marijuana stores from being too close to schools or places frequented by children,” Tory said.

Scarborough-Agincourt councillor Jim Karygiannis plans to push to allow certain wards — specifically his — to ban pot shops.

“I’ve got 110,000 constituents. They deserve to have the same right in order to opt out as other municipalities do,” Karygiannis said.

With files from the Canadian Press

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