Toronto Mayor John Tory is looking to crack down on the rapid growth of marijuana dispensaries in the city, saying the marijuana and product sold at the shops are “completely unregulated.”
The letter comes a week after Tory said the city would have to move rapidly to address the fast-paced growth of medical marijuana dispensaries in Toronto, saying it is “verging on being out of control.”
The Mayor wrote a letter to the executive director of municipal licensing and standards—Tracey Cook, saying "Over the past few months, residents and businesses in different parts of Toronto have raised concerns about the rising number of marijuana dispensaries opening in their neighbourhoods. The speed with which these storefronts are proliferating, and the concentration of dispensaries in some areas of our city, is alarming.”
In the letter, the Mayor also shows respect for the government’s decision to legalize possession of marijuana for non-medicinal purposes, but not without urging the city to hold citizens and dispensaries accountable for their actions. He went on to say “the city has a responsibility to ensure this emerging industry operates responsibly, without a negative impact on the health and safety of our residents and neighbourhoods.”
Although the legislation is not expected to go through until next year, many shops are appearing in the city, looking to get a head start in the market. Tory feels the number of shops popping up is too much, saying that is “what I consider to be unacceptable numbers.”
The next meeting of the licensing and standards committee is scheduled for May 19, and Tory plans to ask the committee to review the current operations of dispensaries in the city. Along with that, he will make recommendations in reference to “steps to address concerns, including the feasibility of licensing marijuana dispensaries and other regulatory mechanisms to regulate the proximity of these establishments to schools, childcare and other sensitive uses."