The room was silent. We were in shock and awe at this stuff.
This is what Mayor Love said at the September 4 Council meeting. She was describing the reaction of delegates to what they heard at the recent Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference about cannabis legalisation and its implications for municipalities.
In a previous article, The Current provided a link to the AMO presentations including the cannabis sessions. Click HERE to view the AMO sessions. For Cannabis and Communities see Wednesday August 22. One of the panelists, Joy Fulton, solicitor for the Regional Municipality of York, focused on “Municipal Enforcement.” She identified the following areas of concern:
- Illegal storefront dispensaries
- Enforcement of rules (e.g. public use, home grow, retail sales)
- Complaints on homegrow, public use and odour
- Fire, building inspection and licensing of retail and multi-unit residential buildings
- Consumption in municipal long term care facilities and social housing sites
- Enforcement of smoking prohibitions and medical cannabis use
- Public intoxication
Fulton highlighted the challenges arising from these municipal responsibilities including the central issue of by-law enforcement when called upon to address residents’ concerns relating to public use, home grow, odour complaints, etc. By-law officers do not have the same tools as police to enforce certain aspects of the Cannabis Act 2017. Currently municipalities do not have the tools and training to enforce the rules governing:
- Recreational public consumption
- Home grow
- Medical cannabis in public places
The Current notes that The Federation of Canadian Municipalities released a publication entitled Municipal Guide to Cannabis Legalisation in June 2018. The Guide had the following to say on the issue of home cultivation.
Citizens expect governments to enforce regulations. The issue of how to regulate home cultivation of cannabis will apply to the greatest number of properties. Of all the regulations that might be considered in relation to the legalization of cannabis, this one has the potential to generate the greatest number of enforcement complaints.
The Mayor, commenting on the Township’s enforcement obligations, said,
And really we did not get a strong sense that the OPP will be right there helping us to deal with it, not at all.
She urged CAO Klatt to start the process of preparation saying,
There’s a huge amount of work to do here. I think our staff needs to start the process.