Hamilton politicians approve motion to crack down on pot shops

News Oct 03, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Stoney Creek Coun. Doug Conley isn’t against dispensaries selling marijuana. He just doesn’t want them located in neighbourhoods near schools or where children are present.

“I’m not against what they do,” said Conley at a Sept. 27 council meeting. “I’m against where they are. Not where kids are living.”

The Ward 9 councillor has become exasperated with a marijuana dispensary in his downtown Stoney Creek area, located beside the Attic restaurant, at 91 King St. in a two-storey house. For one period of time he watched as at least 50 vehicles entered the parking lot of the dispensary, called the Wellness Glass Company, causing traffic and parking problems. Conley said there are families with young children near the business.

The Stoney Creek BIA has also expressed its opposition to the marijuana dispensary and endorses Conley’s stricter enforcement on pot shops.

Conley, who had delayed introducing a motion requiring the police to crack down on marijuana dispensaries, presented it at the Sept. 27 council meeting. He wants the police to enforce the Narcotics Control Act and charge those marijuana dispensaries that are selling non-medical marijuana. A visit by a Hamilton Community News reporter found employees selling pot to a line-up of people earlier this month.

Hamilton councillors approved Conley’s motion, including a requirement to ask the federal government to implement its legislation for the legalization of marijuana be accelerated to prevent further confusion for municipalities and the public.

But Hamilton Police Service Supt. Ryan Diodati said while police will enforce the laws, there are other priorities officers will be focused on besides marijuana dispensaries.

Police, he told councillors, have already issued 10 warrants for 10 dispensaries that have led to their closure. But the problem, said Diodati, is those businesses reopen and the legal process can start over again.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “They’re back in business, sometimes the same day.”

The city’s bylaw enforcement has also issued 45 non-compliance zoning notifications and 25 zoning charges that are before the courts.

Hamilton police say there are about 20 marijuana dispensaries operating in the city.

Hamilton police are also receiving different messages from other levels of government about marijuana legislation. The federal Liberals are planning on legalizing the sale and distribution of marijuana on or before July 1, 2018.

And the provincial Liberals announced last month that it will create a cannabis control board and open up to 60 storefronts in the first year to manage the sale and distribution of marijuana in the province. It will mean illegal pot shops will be shut down over the next year.

Provincial plans include restricting marijuana sales to those 19 and older, a year above the minimum age recommended by the federal government’s cannabis task force report.

Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Green, while not opposed to marijuana dispensaries, said they should respect the existing bylaws and planning requirements when they set up shop.

He said the dispensary issue is similar to how Hamilton handled its licensing issues with Uber. The ride-hailing business continued to operate in the city even though it was from the municipality’s point of view an illegal business.

Hamilton eventually crafted a bylaw that allowed Uber to operate while also satisfying the taxi industry’s concerns.

Mountain Coun. Terry Whitehead said it is the responsibility of the city to make sure the product that pot dispensaries are selling is safe for the public’s consumption.

“We need to make marijuana safer for residents,” he said.

Glanbrook Coun. Brenda Johnson said her issue is there are illegal marijuana grow operations throughout her ward, some in residential neighbourhoods that violate local bylaws such as noise and odour issues and even attract violence, including a shooting earlier this year.

“My residents want the smell to stop. My residents want the shootings to stop,” said Johnson.

 

 

 


Hamilton politicians approve motion to crack down on pot shops

News Oct 03, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Stoney Creek Coun. Doug Conley isn’t against dispensaries selling marijuana. He just doesn’t want them located in neighbourhoods near schools or where children are present.

“I’m not against what they do,” said Conley at a Sept. 27 council meeting. “I’m against where they are. Not where kids are living.”

The Ward 9 councillor has become exasperated with a marijuana dispensary in his downtown Stoney Creek area, located beside the Attic restaurant, at 91 King St. in a two-storey house. For one period of time he watched as at least 50 vehicles entered the parking lot of the dispensary, called the Wellness Glass Company, causing traffic and parking problems. Conley said there are families with young children near the business.

The Stoney Creek BIA has also expressed its opposition to the marijuana dispensary and endorses Conley’s stricter enforcement on pot shops.

Conley, who had delayed introducing a motion requiring the police to crack down on marijuana dispensaries, presented it at the Sept. 27 council meeting. He wants the police to enforce the Narcotics Control Act and charge those marijuana dispensaries that are selling non-medical marijuana. A visit by a Hamilton Community News reporter found employees selling pot to a line-up of people earlier this month.

Hamilton councillors approved Conley’s motion, including a requirement to ask the federal government to implement its legislation for the legalization of marijuana be accelerated to prevent further confusion for municipalities and the public.

But Hamilton Police Service Supt. Ryan Diodati said while police will enforce the laws, there are other priorities officers will be focused on besides marijuana dispensaries.

Police, he told councillors, have already issued 10 warrants for 10 dispensaries that have led to their closure. But the problem, said Diodati, is those businesses reopen and the legal process can start over again.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “They’re back in business, sometimes the same day.”

The city’s bylaw enforcement has also issued 45 non-compliance zoning notifications and 25 zoning charges that are before the courts.

Hamilton police say there are about 20 marijuana dispensaries operating in the city.

Hamilton police are also receiving different messages from other levels of government about marijuana legislation. The federal Liberals are planning on legalizing the sale and distribution of marijuana on or before July 1, 2018.

And the provincial Liberals announced last month that it will create a cannabis control board and open up to 60 storefronts in the first year to manage the sale and distribution of marijuana in the province. It will mean illegal pot shops will be shut down over the next year.

Provincial plans include restricting marijuana sales to those 19 and older, a year above the minimum age recommended by the federal government’s cannabis task force report.

Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Green, while not opposed to marijuana dispensaries, said they should respect the existing bylaws and planning requirements when they set up shop.

He said the dispensary issue is similar to how Hamilton handled its licensing issues with Uber. The ride-hailing business continued to operate in the city even though it was from the municipality’s point of view an illegal business.

Hamilton eventually crafted a bylaw that allowed Uber to operate while also satisfying the taxi industry’s concerns.

Mountain Coun. Terry Whitehead said it is the responsibility of the city to make sure the product that pot dispensaries are selling is safe for the public’s consumption.

“We need to make marijuana safer for residents,” he said.

Glanbrook Coun. Brenda Johnson said her issue is there are illegal marijuana grow operations throughout her ward, some in residential neighbourhoods that violate local bylaws such as noise and odour issues and even attract violence, including a shooting earlier this year.

“My residents want the smell to stop. My residents want the shootings to stop,” said Johnson.

 

 

 


Hamilton politicians approve motion to crack down on pot shops

News Oct 03, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Stoney Creek Coun. Doug Conley isn’t against dispensaries selling marijuana. He just doesn’t want them located in neighbourhoods near schools or where children are present.

“I’m not against what they do,” said Conley at a Sept. 27 council meeting. “I’m against where they are. Not where kids are living.”

The Ward 9 councillor has become exasperated with a marijuana dispensary in his downtown Stoney Creek area, located beside the Attic restaurant, at 91 King St. in a two-storey house. For one period of time he watched as at least 50 vehicles entered the parking lot of the dispensary, called the Wellness Glass Company, causing traffic and parking problems. Conley said there are families with young children near the business.

The Stoney Creek BIA has also expressed its opposition to the marijuana dispensary and endorses Conley’s stricter enforcement on pot shops.

Conley, who had delayed introducing a motion requiring the police to crack down on marijuana dispensaries, presented it at the Sept. 27 council meeting. He wants the police to enforce the Narcotics Control Act and charge those marijuana dispensaries that are selling non-medical marijuana. A visit by a Hamilton Community News reporter found employees selling pot to a line-up of people earlier this month.

Hamilton councillors approved Conley’s motion, including a requirement to ask the federal government to implement its legislation for the legalization of marijuana be accelerated to prevent further confusion for municipalities and the public.

But Hamilton Police Service Supt. Ryan Diodati said while police will enforce the laws, there are other priorities officers will be focused on besides marijuana dispensaries.

Police, he told councillors, have already issued 10 warrants for 10 dispensaries that have led to their closure. But the problem, said Diodati, is those businesses reopen and the legal process can start over again.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “They’re back in business, sometimes the same day.”

The city’s bylaw enforcement has also issued 45 non-compliance zoning notifications and 25 zoning charges that are before the courts.

Hamilton police say there are about 20 marijuana dispensaries operating in the city.

Hamilton police are also receiving different messages from other levels of government about marijuana legislation. The federal Liberals are planning on legalizing the sale and distribution of marijuana on or before July 1, 2018.

And the provincial Liberals announced last month that it will create a cannabis control board and open up to 60 storefronts in the first year to manage the sale and distribution of marijuana in the province. It will mean illegal pot shops will be shut down over the next year.

Provincial plans include restricting marijuana sales to those 19 and older, a year above the minimum age recommended by the federal government’s cannabis task force report.

Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Green, while not opposed to marijuana dispensaries, said they should respect the existing bylaws and planning requirements when they set up shop.

He said the dispensary issue is similar to how Hamilton handled its licensing issues with Uber. The ride-hailing business continued to operate in the city even though it was from the municipality’s point of view an illegal business.

Hamilton eventually crafted a bylaw that allowed Uber to operate while also satisfying the taxi industry’s concerns.

Mountain Coun. Terry Whitehead said it is the responsibility of the city to make sure the product that pot dispensaries are selling is safe for the public’s consumption.

“We need to make marijuana safer for residents,” he said.

Glanbrook Coun. Brenda Johnson said her issue is there are illegal marijuana grow operations throughout her ward, some in residential neighbourhoods that violate local bylaws such as noise and odour issues and even attract violence, including a shooting earlier this year.

“My residents want the smell to stop. My residents want the shootings to stop,” said Johnson.