Toronto city councillors must decide whether to allow retail pot shops in their city. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Pot stores on agenda at Toronto city council after two municipalities opt out

TORONTO — Councillors in Toronto are set to debate whether to allow retail pot shops in Canada’s largest city.

City staff recommend that councillors allow privately run cannabis stores to operate in Toronto, saying it would “would have the unintended consequence of encouraging the illegal market.”

The issue is on the agenda for today’s council meeting, a day after councillors in two neighbouring municipalities voted against having pot shops within their boundaries.

Councillors in Mississauga and Markham voted Wednesday to opt out of hosting privately operated retail cannabis stores, which are expected to open across Ontario next spring.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Markham’s Frank Scarpitti both said there are too many unanswered questions.

However, Toronto Mayor John Tory says he plans to move a motion to allow pot shops — while acknowledging he’s not satisfied with the way things are now.

“To me, the option of saying there aren’t going to be any in Toronto leaves us in the situation we’re in now, where we have a lot of illegal pot shops,” Tory told local TV station CP24 on Wednesday night.

“And I don’t think we want this left in the hands of what amounts to organized crime.”

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