Riverside residents ‘very involved’ about hearsay of a hashish consumption patio

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Local residents are upset by rumors that a soon-to-be-opened cannabis store in the Olde Riverside commercial park will have a potentially spicy feature: a patio for outdoor consumption.

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“The consumer part got me,” said Ward 6 Couns. Jo-Anne Gignac, who on Monday officially asked the administration to look into the power of the city to control such use.

She said the proposed location is on Wyandotte Street East within the boundaries of the Olde Riverside Business Improvement Association. She said that as far as she knows, a cannabis store with a consumption deck would be a first for the area.

“Right now this is something that is bouncing around the riverside area and is very important to local residents who live in close proximity.

The BIA area consists of a strip commercial in Wyandotte with “houses right next to it, both north and south,” she said, referring to adjacent residential streets.

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“When it comes to consumption, there are issues related to inhaling second-hand cannabis smoke, which is a major problem for people with respiratory problems.”

There has been a surge in local cannabis businesses since the first opened in Spring 2020, and the City of Windsor has very little control over where these provincial-licensed private businesses can go. But this latest possible wrinkle – having a patio where the product can be consumed outdoors – prompted Gignac to check with the city’s legal department about ways to regulate such use through zoning.

She hadn’t been able to get the information she was looking for on Monday morning, so she asked the question at the end of the council meeting on Monday and started the gears for a formal answer.

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At the meeting on Monday, Gignac told his fellow councilors that residents had been made aware that the person applying for a retail store in Wyandotte will also propose a “consumer terrace next to the retail unit adjoining a residential area.”

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Ontario’s cannabis regulations prohibit smoking or vaporizing cannabis on bar patios and public areas within nine meters of a patio. Recently, however, there have been several examples of outdoor consumption lounges or patios popping up in the province.

Gignac said rumors of a consumer terrace are buzzing through the riverside area.

“I hear that, the residents hear that,” she said. “And they are very concerned.”