The Federal Government has approved the legalization of cannabis. Retail sales of cannabis in our country, province and our city is coming. We cannot stop this even if we wanted to. The Federal and Provincial governments are moving forward. The City of Ottawa must now act quickly and responsibly to ensure we proceed with caution and put safety above all else.
This is a new complex policy issue for Ottawa that requires extensive community consultation. Residents have expressed concerns about location and the convenience of access to retail stores selling cannabis. However, they have also expressed the desire for safe, regulated sources so that those who do use cannabis are not purchasing from criminal organizations and using cannabis possibly laced with other harmful substances.
This is unchartered territory and these aren’t easy decisions. The city should be focused on consulting locally and encouraging the province to develop a responsible, balanced legislative framework ensuring planning, zoning, safety and increased funding for enforcement are all critical considerations. The safety of our community, our kids and families is too important to rush and get this wrong.