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City councillor floats third option in pot shop debate

Councillor Mathieu Fleury says council could choose not to vote on opting in or out of cannabis retail stores.
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2018-10-22 Mathieu Fleury
Mathieu Fleury speaks to media after being re-elected in Rideau-Vanier, October 22, 2018. Adam Haga/ OttawaMatters

A special council meeting is slated for Thursday to decide if the city will opt in on pot shops operating in the area.

One concern raised by councillors is losing licensing and zoning regulations if they choose to move forward with the recommendations.

"We protect diversity of businesses on our main streets and that we don't see clusters," says Rideau-Vanier Councillor Mathieu Fleury. "That's an important piece to us.

"Even if later in time there would be authority given to the municipalities, we wouldn't be able to claw back on issues, like cluster, for example," added Fluery.

A third option Fleury has floated is not voting on the recommendations. 

"In my mind, choosing not to vote means, yes, you allow for retail stores and yes, you get the revenue," he said. "It's going to cost us more money to regulate and monitor that industry than the province will provide to the city."

Fleury said by not voting the city would opt in but also send a message to the province that the city wants to regulate the location of the businesses.

However, Fleury says it would be in the best interest for the city to opt in, so it can acquire the revenue and not run the risk of having black market continue to operate in Ottawa.

The province has given Ottawa until January 22, 2019 to come to a decision.
 




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