It’s a big question for municipal candidates around Ontario for the upcoming municipal election — will their city sell pot or not?
On Thursday, the PC government announced that those who smoke marijuana in Ontario can do so wherever tobacco smokers light up.
This added detail will weigh heavily on the next mayor of Kingston, who will have to choose whether to opt out of the ability to have pot shops in the city by January 2019.
“Why not provide people what they have a right to have?… I like more of the pharmacy model maybe,” said mayoral candidate Vicki Shmolka on Friday.
Mayoral incumbent Bryan Paterson says he’s not necessarily against having cannabis shops, but worries about how many would set up shop and how they would run.
“My feeling is, we wouldn’t want to move forward until we’re comfortable with exactly what the setup would look like locally.”
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Rob Matheson says that if he was elected, he would be on board for Kingston to host cannabis shops.
“As many as it can support, I would say,” Matheson said. “As long you’re playing within the rules, and selling what you are supposed to, I say why not?”
Eric Lee erred more on the side of caution.
“I think, limit the amount of them, that might be alright.”
The concern for some candidates is that once the city opts out, it can never change that decision.
Whether the new mayor and the new council allows the shops or not, a provincial regulation ordering shops to set up around 500 metres away from schools, will be in place. It’s something that all four candidates admitted may be a challenge — especially if several were to open in the city.
And although it was said on Wednesday that pot smokers can smoke anywhere cigarettes are permitted, Premier Doug Ford said Friday that smoking marijuana will not be allowed in parks or anywhere children may be.
The newly elected mayor and council will have until Jan. 22, 2019, to opt out.
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