In deciding to opt-out of permitting marijuana retail stores in our community for the time being by a solid 7-2 vote on December 17, 2018, Milton Council sent a strong message to Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill about the quality of their planning and roll-out of the legal use of this hallucinogen for recreational purposes. It was approved for medical purposes in 2016.
I voted to opt out, as I promised I would during the municipal election campaign last fall. My statement on the matter from September 2018 can be found here.
At this writing, both higher levels of government have failed Miltonians with respect to this matter:
- No funding has been provided for policing, whether training officers to deal with impaired drivers or enabling the purchase of detection technology for police cruisers;
- No funding has been provided for drug rehabilitation service providers like Hope Place Centres, which is the only alcohol and drug treatment facility serving our community;
- No funding has been provided for bylaw enforcement services required to deal with neighbourhood complaints regarding recreational marijuana use.
The $46,000 that Milton is estimated to receive from the Province, whether it opted out or not, will not cover the administrative costs associated with dealing with the establishment of marijuana retail shops in our community, let alone begin to cover the costs associated with policing, drug rehab treatment or bylaw enforcement. But, despite poor planning by the federal and provincial governments on this file, the Town of Milton must prepare for every eventuality before April 1, 2019. This includes contemplating interim control measures, business licence fees and zoning bylaws, despite the fact that the Province has essentially removed our community’s ability to decide where retail marijuana shops will and will not be established. CR