November 30, 2017 9:02 am

London looks at potential sites for marijuana shops

A woman exhales while smoking a joint during the annual 420 marijuana rally on Parliament hill on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 in Ottawa.

Justin Tang/CP

City staff have outlined some concerns over the future location of provincially operated marijuana stores coming to London next year.

It’s expected that London will have one or two storefronts by July 1, 2018, eventually expanding to four or five.

A staff report, which will be heard by council’s planning and environment committee next week, is addressing a wide range of concerns, like where should the stores be located, and which areas wouldn’t be appropriate for the site.

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READ MORE: What happens to drug-sniffing dogs when marijuana is legalized in Canada?

The planning report suggests these shops should be located at least 500 metres from schools, libraries, pools, arenas or community centres.

Parking and security are two other priorities that will also be addressed in the report. The proposal encourages at least one space for every 15 square metres of space.

The report suggests the outlets should be near shopping areas, along transit lines or in urban corridors.

London is one of three communities in southwestern Ontario scheduled to get shops in the province’s initial rollout, with Kitchener and Windsor the others. The outlets will be managed by the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp., similar to the LCBO for alcohol sales.

READ MORE: Just months away, here’s how pot legalization is shaping up in Canada

Province-wide, 40 stores are expected to open by July 1, 2018, with 110 more by 2020.

With one or two storefronts expected to be operational in the city by next July, staff are concerned there isn’t enough time for public consultation.

City staff are recommending council outline a policy for a preferred location and send that to the province.

The next meeting for council’s planning and environment committee is Monday, Dec. 4.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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