School Board Looking For Cannabis Controls

The public school board in Windsor-Essex is looking for local municipalities to flex some by-law muscle when it comes to pot operations.

In a letter to the Town of Essex, the school board encourages council to bring in new land use controls to keep grow operations and soon-to-be-coming cannabis retail stores in limited proximity to schools.

The Greater Essex County District School Board is also looking for local municipalities to create a process to inform the board of any potential sites for pot stores or production facilities.

However, Essex Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche feels municipalities across the region and Ontario will have minimal influence on those decisions.

Meloche points to the government's track record of pushing aside municipal land use concerns for province-wide initiatives.

"Seems to be a growing concern. There are a number of items — I mean with wind turbines it was the same. The province just stepped in and said, 'We don't care really what you guys are suggesting as far as what you want to see, this is what we're telling you your regulations are going to be,' says Meloche."

He adds, the town will come out with a by-law to govern setbacks for pot stores and grow operations to at least serve as a guide for provincial decision makers.

"We haven't done it yet, but we're going to have to take a close look — and it's coming soon — to try and figure out a way that we can try to lessen the number of complaints that we have from residents."  "I believe that the province will probably give some recognition to whatever by-law we put in place, but we can't guarantee — you know, the province is the province and they ultimately have [the final] say."

Recreational marijuana is set to be legalized as early as August of this year.