While other businesses are closing up, one industry continues to grow in Ottawa
Published Friday, March 26, 2021 6:51PM EDT
OTTAWA -- Ottawa has about a dozen pot shops and at least 100 applications have been filed to open new ones.
Now, there’s some concern about a possible store opening in a plaza in the Alta Vista community.
"On a personal level, I'm comfortable with my kids coming down here," said Marty Carr. Her children attend the high school near the plaza about 400 metres away and there’s been an application to open up a pot shop.
As the president of the Alta Vista Community Association, she’s heard many residents raise concern about the addition of a third cannabis shop in the neighbourhood.
"Typically we don’t oppose cannabis shops," said Carr, adding there are already two in the neighbourhood.
"There are concerns that having this in the neighbourhood may create crowds and instances that the schools probably don’t need."
Lawyer Trina Fraser, who specializes in cannabis law, says having legal retail cannabis stores in the community can serve as a disincentive to illicit sales.
"Having a legal store in the community is a way to ensure that kids are not being exposed to it,” Fraser said.
"Kids are not getting into these stores, the stores are required to make sure products cannot be seen from outside the stores. Always ID checks in the stores."
Fraser notes Ottawa has about a dozen open pot shops, with at least 100 applications pending. This as the provincial government aims to have 1,000 cannabis retail stores across the province by fall.
"I remain uncertain with how many stores Ottawa will bear, but I think what we are going to see is fluctuation in the next few years anyway," she said. "We will see a number of stores increase and we will see some degree of contraction."
At this point, Carr is getting feedback from the neighbourhood about the proposed new cannabis retail store. They have until April 2 to decide whether to pursue this further.
"These are legal businesses and we welcome them in the neighbourhood," said Carr. "We just want to make sure residents feel comfortable."