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Impact of marijuana legalization on municipalities concerns councillors

by Patrick Raftis

MINTO - Council here has directed staff to present a report on the possible impact on municipalities of federal legislation to legalize marijuana.

On June 6 deputy mayor Ron Faulkner suggested council “should be crafting a response” to a letter from Perth-Wellington MPP John Nater on Bill C-45.

“Personally, I have reservations concerning Bill C-45, including the lack of consideration the federal government has given to the recommendations its own Marijuana Task Force put forward last November,” Nater states in the letter.

“For instance, the task force acknowledged that police do not have the tools to keep our streets safe from an increase in drug impaired driving. I am also concerned that the Cannabis Act appears to ‘download’ many costs to municipalities.”

Nater noted the task force also recommended the federal government work with municipalities to address the challenges “grow operations” pose to neighbours, landlords and communities.

“Bill C-45 does not speak to these concerns but instead allows an individual over the age of 18 to have four marijuana plants, up to one metre in height, in a residential dwelling. This legislation ignores the potential fire and other hazards associated with growing marijuana in a residential dwelling,” Nater stated.

Faulkner expressed his own reservations with the legislation.

“Nowhere in there does it identify the responsibly of local municipalities and there’s nowhere (for municipalities) to put input into it,” Faulkner stated.

Mayor George Bridge added, “I know at FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) we feel it’s a big responsibility to Canadian municipalities because we can see a lot of the costs coming down on us.”

CAO Bill White suggested a report be prepared for council’s consideration.

“This will fall on local municipalities to implement in a number of ways - policing for one, licensing for another,” said White.

Faulkner, a retired OPP staff sergeant and former Harriston police chief, volunteered to assist with the report.

“I would really appreciate being a part of crafting those comments, simply because I have a fair bit of experience in that area,” he stated.

June 16, 2017


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