Essex To Look At By-Laws Ahead Of Pot Legalization

Pot legalization is only weeks away and Essex Town Council is making sure its by-laws are ready — especially when it hits retailers after the New Year.

Ward 1 Councillor Steve Bjorkman tabled a notice of motion Monday asking council to get behind a report on how pot will fit in the town's existing by-laws. Municipalities have until Jan. 22, 2019 to opt out of retail licencing, but that's not something Bjorkman sees the town doing.

He says council needs to make sure locations offer the least inconvenience to surrounding residents and businesses.

"You're not going to turn business away when you're neighbours [other municipalities] going to have it. I see it as something we just need to manage and stay in front of it and make sure we don't get caught in the rollout without a plan," Bjorkman says. "There's a lot of conversation that needs to happen, it's business, it's going to be legal and we need to find a way to deal with it in a way that services and helps everybody," he says. 

He says there's going to be plenty of information out there to pull from.

"I know they've already begun in Amherstburg and there are other communities that have started, so at least there are some best practices out there already so there are some communities we can go to and see what they've done,"  added Bjorkman.

Council will decide on Bjorkman's motion at its next meeting.

Online pot-sales will begin Oct. 17 — retail shops won't be up and running until April of 2019.