It’s quite clear to one Regina councillor where pot shops should be allowed to set up in the city.
Ward 2 councillor Bob Hawkins wants a buffer zone between pot shops and things like schools, playgrounds, daycares and other pot shops to be two blocks. As well, he wants that two block buffer to be applied consistently across the city, including in the downtown.
“We’re really talking about protecting teenagers here,” he said.
City administration is recommending a buffer zone of one block, except for the downtown where no such zones would be implemented.
“I don’t see any justification for treating the kids downtown any differently than treating the kids anywhere else. I think you want to protect them everywhere,” Hawkins said.
Admin doesn’t recommend separate distances in the downtown between these retail cannabis stores in recognition of the neighbourhood as a more urban character with a dynamic mix of land uses, according to a report by city staff.
Hawkins believes his stance on pot shop distances encompasses how many residents feel.
“One of the things I think they want me to do is make sure that we protect the young people in this city,” he said.
Hawkins said his personal view is that recreational marijuana should have been decriminalized, not legalized. He was the only councillor that voted against the city’s initial plan on pot.
He brought forth a number of amendments to the motion around buffer zones at a recent planning commission committee meeting, but they were defeated. Despite this, he intends to raise them again when council votes on the matter on May 28.