Council to consider how to regulate pot use in Sudbury

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Sudbury will become home to two new pot shops in the coming months, and city council is trying to determine how to address the increased presence of marijuana on the streets.

Earlier this year, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario announced the Nickel City would become home to a shop operated by Anton Lucic, which will open near Milestones restaurant, as well as a second outlet, operated by Saturninus Partners. A location for this retail shop has yet to be confirmed.

“As part of the retail model in Ontario, two licences out of a total of an initial allocation of 25 licences for the province of Ontario were available for the north, selected via lottery on Jan. 11,” a staff report going to council next week notes. “An application was received Feb. 19 from Anton Lucic, applying to operate a cannabis retail store, HighLife, at 1299 Marcus Dr. in Sudbury.”

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At next week’s council meeting, councillors will consider three options to refresh smoking bylaws and make them inclusive of cannabis.

Staff is recommending council adopt the first option, which would prohibit smoking pot at the transit terminal, at libraries and some other facilities that are regulated by a nine-metre rule, such as bus shelters.

“Staff recommends option 1 to ensure the municipal smoking bylaw aligns with provincial regulations and the parks bylaw,” the report indicates. “This option also provides further restriction to smoking in sensitive areas where children, youth and families are likely to be present.”

There are two other options on the table, including one that would prevent smoking and vaping on municipal property (exceptions for ceremonial uses would be included), and one that “maintains status quo, with updates to the existing bylaw (2002-300) to include smoking cannabis and vaping, but no further restrictions on places of use.”

The province has committed $40 million over two years to assist municipalities in governing the newly legal plant and implementing recreational cannabis legalization.

“The first Ontario Cannabis Legalization Implementation Fund payment to the City of Greater Sudbury was $192,811,” the report notes. “A second installment, $235,910, has been announced. The total allocation for the City of Greater Sudbury is $428,721.”

City staff is taking a wait-and-see approach to determine how the presence of pot will influence municipal services and assets.

“Staff will monitor how the roll out of cannabis retail, the potential for manufacturing and cannabis use impact upon municipal services or require additional community supports,” the report states. “According to the Ministry of Finance website, the following are examples of permitted costs: increased enforcement (e.g. police, public health and bylaw enforcement, court administration, litigation); increased response to public inquiries (e.g. 311 calls, correspondence); increased paramedic services; increased fire services; and bylaw/policy development (e.g. police, public health, workplace safety policy).”

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