Belleville is telling the province it does not want to host a cannabis retail store in the first round of cannabis retail stores.
The city has been identified as the location for at least one initial marijuana retail store by July of next year.
Councillor Paul Carr raised the issue at city council Monday night, citing significant issues related to costs to the municipality.
Car said, “One of the biggest ones, I think we’re going to be impacted on, indirectly, is through the police and roadside sobriety testing. These are all public safety concerns ”
The province is undertaking a campaign to convince municipalities to be willing to host the first wave of 40 retail outlets. Unwilling cities can opt for deferment.
Carr insisted that delaying the retail store in Belleville would be wise.
Councillor Mike Graham, a former Belleville police inspector, said he would not support a retail cannabis store in any shape or form.
He said it’s disappointing to see a former police chief of Toronto and Deputy Commissioner of the RCMP promoting the sale of cannabis.
Graham called it a “money grab for the government”.
He said. “It’s just another way for people to get stoned. I can assure you that selling it at the liquor store is not going to stop illegal sales. There is nothing good about legalization.”
Carr’s motion asked for the province to provide a plan that would include funding for municipalities from the cannabis sales tax revenue to pay for the increased services.
He wants the city to establish a group to include police and public health, along with the partnership with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
Mayor Taso Christopher said the city should take the opportunity to sit down with the province to learn more.
The motion to seek a delay and calling for more funding information was approved on a recorded vote of 7 to 2 with Mayor Christopher and Councillor Garnet Thompson voting against.