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Niagara Falls, Ontario getting a government-run pot shop

National Public Radio
The LCBO will operate stores to sell legal cannabis.

Starting in July, Niagara Falls, ON and many tourism centers across the province will have an additional item to buy: marijuana.

Credit Nationa Public Radio

With legal pot phasing in across Canada, the province is setting up a network of pot shops run by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.

Originally, Niagara Falls was not on the list, but after City Councilmember and Niagara Falls Tourism Chair Wayne Thomson made a big issue about it,  including personally lobbying Premier Kathleen Wynne and going public, the Canadian Cataract City is getting its pot.

"I was going to bring a resolution before the Council to suggest that this was not a fair and businesslike decision," he said. "As a result of my suggesting I'm going to do this, we got a letter the day before saying that there was going to be one located in Niagara Falls, ON."

Credit Wayne Thomson
Niagara Falls, ON City Councilmember Wayne Thomson

Thomson said lessons from legal pot in the United States show it is a valuable addition to the menu options for tourists.

"What people are looking for and what they want to do when they visit a destination," Thomson said. "We have 14 million people come from around the world to visit Niagara Falls annually and the more attractions, the more things and entertainments you can provide, is what the objective is."

Thomson said the city will not have any voice in where the pot store will go, although he hoped it will be in the tourism area near the falls. He said running the stores through the LCBO means they fall under the management and existing security systems of the liquor agency and its stores network.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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