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Calgary pot shops waiting for approvals concerned over ‘disadvantages’ – Calgary

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Marijuana legalization is days away, but Calgarians with high expectations around retail options might need to chill out.

Alberta Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis has given permission to 17 pot shops in the province to open their doors on Oct. 17; Calgary has two.

“There are still some additional requirements that these stores must fulfill before they will obtain their full licence for the retail of cannabis,” AGLC cannabis inspections senior manager Tom Siewert said. “So we’re working with each one of those interim licensees.”

In Calgary, pot shop locations and business licences are awarded by the city, but the final approval to sell as well as the physical marijuana product comes from the province.


WATCH:
Only 2 Calgary stores receive AGLC approval to sell legal marijuana

Now, more than 100 city-approved pot shops in Calgary are patiently waiting for that final step.

Canna Cabana, formerly known as Smokers’ Corner, hopes to be up and running in a few weeks.

“We wanted to be open the 17, that was the goal,” Canna Cabana co-owner Lucas Klapper said. “Its a historic day for Canada and we wanted to be a part of that.”

Canna Cabana has approval from the city to open a store on 10 Street N.W., and the team was full steam ahead to be ready for an Oct. 17 opening, however, construction slowed and the inside of the shop is unfinished.

“A couple weeks ago… we were told that things are not lining up and a lot has to be done still in terms of inspections,” Klapper, said. “There’s a due diligence process [with] the AGLC that we still have to get done.”

According to the City of Calgary, of over 290 reviewed applications, 118 shops have been approved.

The AGLC said timing is behind the lack of provincially approved stores in Calgary. In comparison, Edmonton has six and Medicine Hat has three stores that will be selling on legalization day.

“A lot of it is up to the applicant themselves, and how quickly they construct and if what they have constructed for their premises meets our requirements,” Siewart said.

Those requirements include a due diligence review, physical inspections throughout construction and renovation as well as a final inspection when everything is finished.

Canna Cabana has more time to finish renovations and construction without rushing the Oct. 17 deadline, but the owners worry that may cost them.

“The disadvantage, obviously, is losing money, revenue, potential customers, potential revenue,” Klapper said. “We wanted to be open, we did, but it is what it is.”


READ MORE:
Marijua–nah, say Calgary universities to smoking pot on campus

However, the AGLC doesn’t share the concern.

“I believe the market is large enough that stores in different areas will have the same opportunity as the stores that are ready for the 17,” Siewart said.

The AGLC says inspections are ongoing and officials are working to get approved stores up and running as soon as possible. The AGLC has 64 inspectors visiting shops across the province.

It’s expected there will be more pot shops opening their doors later this month.

As for Canna Cabana, they’re hoping they’ll be able to open their doors in late-October or early-November.

“We’re going to be late, but better late than never,” Klapper said.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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Ballot points: your questions answered about voting in Toronto’s election

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After a tumultuous six-month election campaign, voting day — Monday, Oct. 22 — is upon us.

Voters will decide which of the 35 candidates will be mayor, and who out of more than 250 candidates will win one of 25 councillor seats for the next four years.

Here’s everything you need to know to cast your ballot.

When do I vote?

Polls are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Where do I vote?

You must vote in the ward you live in. Each of the 25 wards has multiple voting stations. To find locations close to you, visit myvote.toronto.ca.

Am I eligible to vote in the Toronto municipal election?

Any Canadian citizen 18 years or older who is a resident of Toronto, or owns or rents property in the city, is a spouse of someone who owns or rents property in the city, and isn’t prohibited from voting under any law can vote in the municipal election.

People cannot vote if they’re serving a sentence of incarceration, convicted of a corrupt practice under the Municipal Elections Act, or as a corporation. They also cannot vote acting as an executor or trustee, except if they’re a voting proxy.

Students attending school in Toronto can vote both in the city and in the municipality they call home. Toronto residents attending school elsewhere can still vote in Toronto’s municipal election, and can appoint another voter to proxy vote on their behalf.

Am I eligible to vote in the Toronto school board election?

The same eligibility rules apply as in the municipal election with the exception that only owners or tenants of residential, not commercial, property can vote for a trustee.

People are allowed to vote for the same school board once, and must be a “separate school board supporter” or spouse of one to vote for trustees outside the English public school board system.

In order to support another school board (such as Catholic or French language), people must have already directed their property taxes to another system. To vote for a Catholic school board trustee, you must also be Roman Catholic. To vote for a French school board trustee, you must be a French language rights holder, or the spouse of one.

I didn’t receive a voter information card. Can I still vote?

Yes. A voter information card is not mandatory, although it speeds up the voting process at the poll site.

What identification do I need to bring to vote?

You are required to show documentation with your name and Toronto address, such as a driver’s licence, tax documents, bank account statement, utility bill or payment stub. Your documentation doesn’t have to have a photo.

I can’t make it out to vote. Can I still cast a ballot?

Yes. Eligible voters who are unable to vote for any reason can appoint another eligible voter to vote on their behalf by submitting a proxy appointment form and providing identification to the city clerk by 4:30 p.m.

Forms can be picked up in person during regular business hours at city clerk office locations: Election Services at 89 Northline Rd., city hall at 100 Queen St. W., Etobicoke Civic Centre at 399 The West Mall, North York Civic Centre at 5100 Yonge St. or the Scarborough Civic Centre at 150 Borough Dr. They can also be obtained by calling 416-338-1111 or emailing voterregistration@toronto.ca.

Am I allowed to leave work to vote?

Yes. You are entitled to three hours to vote.

I have a disability, or other special needs. Can I still vote?

Yes. If you are unable to go inside a voting place, election officials can meet you at your vehicle or outside the building.

Inside voting places, voter assisted terminals provide a way for you to vote independently, offering a touchscreen, audio, Braille key pad, sip-puff tube device, rocker paddle-foot switch and zoom features.

For more information on accessibility, contact the city at accessibleelections@toronto.ca or 416-338-1111 ext. 6.

How do I find out the winners?

The city and the Star will post live election results on their websites starting at 8 p.m. Oct. 22.

Samantha Beattie is a city hall reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @samantha_kb



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Ontario to keep funding supervised drug consumption sites, health minister says

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Ontario will keep funding supervised drug consumption sites, but their focus will change to help users receive treatment and get rehabilitated, Health Minister Christine Elliott said Monday morning.

Existing sites will also have to reapply to continue operating, Elliott said.

« While critical, simply preventing overdoses is not enough. We need longer-term solutions to this problem, » she said about the reason behind rebranding the sites to focus on consumption and treatment services. 

« Lives are being lost every day, and opioid addiction, if left unchecked, creates a new burden on our health-care system.

« We don’t truly save a person’s life until they are free of addiction. »

Toronto and Ottawa have supervised consumption sites. 

London has a temporary overdose prevention site while it awaits approval of a permanent site. 

The province has capped the number of sites at 21.

There will not be any new funding for the rebranded sites, Elliott said, and most existing sites already comply with the new model. Those sites cost the province $31 million. 

The new sites will include harm-reduction services such as supervised consumption services and will connect people with treatment and health services, Elliott said. 

« Government cannot turn a blind eye to the crisis is happening in front of us. Absent a safe and controlled environment, [people] will continue to use local business, parks, homes and libraries to inject at serious risk to themselves and others. »

Currently, 19 sites are operating and can apply to the province to continue. Three sites — in St. Catharines, Thunder Bay and in Parkdale in Toronto — were paused while Elliott reviewed supervised consumption. Those will be allowed to open, she said. 

« Pop-up sites and tents will not be allowed and this will be strictly enforced. »

The sites will be subject to random audits. They’ll also have to report back to the province about who is using them. 



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Kremlin concerned over Trump’s decision to leave nuclear arms treaty

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MOSCOW—The Kremlin says it is concerned about U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from a landmark nuclear weapons treaty.

Trump announced on Saturday that the United States would walk away from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that the U.S. and the Soviet Union signed in 1987 in a major step to ease Cold War tensions.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters on Monday that Putin is denying Trump’s allegations that Russia has violated terms of the treaty. Peskov says the U.S. withdrawal from the treaty would “make the world a more dangerous place.”

The Kremlin’s comments came as U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton began his visit to Russia on Monday. Peskov said Russian officials are anxious to hear Bolton’s explanations for Trump’s decision.

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