Tory asks premier to address impacts of pot legalization and 'increased costs'
The federal government introduced legislation in April with a goal of legalizing and regulating the use of recreational marijuana by July 2018. (File image)
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, July 18, 2017 10:39AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 18, 2017 10:43AM EDT
Mayor John Tory is calling on the premier to sit down with city officials to discuss the legalization of marijuana and the “increased costs” for Toronto.
In a letter sent to Premier Kathleen Wynne on Monday, Tory said when key regulatory decisions are made regarding the sale of marijuana, they must be made in “close collaboration with Ontario cities and towns, including Toronto.”
“I have made it clear that while I support the legalization of marijuana, I do not think the people of Toronto would support future widespread location of outlets for the sale of marijuana in residential neighbourhoods or in certain retailing areas,” he said.
“Not only do I have significant concerns about how any retail distribution will fit within our communities but I am also certain that a big part of the enforcement of these regulations will be on the shoulders of municipalities whether through licensing, zoning by-law enforcement or municipal policing.”
The federal government announced earlier this year that it plans to legalize marijuana by July 2018 and the mayor added that he has “no doubt” that there will be increased costs when that happens.
“We would want to discuss with you what the magnitude of those costs might be and reach agreement with you on both increased public health funding and a dedicated share of increased provincial revenues attributable to the sale of marijuana,” he said.
“These discussions might also include the possibility of a special levy on marijuana sales implemented in some U.S. cities to offset these increased costs.”
Other concerns the mayor says he would like to raise with the province include the rules around smoking marijuana in public places, retail marijuana sales around schools and community centres as well as public education and law enforcement.
“I share the view evident in your recent comments that while legalization is sound and sensible public policy in 2017, there are many important issues yet to be addressed arising out of proposed changes to the law. I'm sure you agree that Toronto holds an essential place at the table as those decisions are made,” Tory concluded.