Despite opposition from area residents and Hamilton councillors, the pot shop Cannabis Roll opened its doors for curbside service in an Ancaster neighbourhood April 28.
“I went by there and there was nobody around,” said Ancaster Coun. Lloyd Ferguson.
In a statement issued from Cannabis Roll, officials confirmed the retail store is open and they will follow the provincial and federal licensing regulations.
“Just like any other licensed establishment we are highly regulated and verified to make sure that we provide the community a safe resource for their cannabis,” said Cannabis Roll.
A few residents were already upset that the cannabis shop had its door open, even though it was only supposed to offer curbside service, and they had contacted the city’s bylaw enforcement. In addition, since the cannabis stores are prohibited from targeting people under the age of 19, the store can’t have open doors to the street since they need to be secured, said resident Jon Magyar.
“The store is in the middle of a residential neighbourhood with children walking right past that front door,” stated Magyar.
Ferguson, along with residents within the Perth Park neighbourhood, have fought a losing battle over the past year against the Alcohol and Gaming Commission to prevent the cannabis shop from opening in a small plaza at 11 Hatton Drive.
At the insistence of Ferguson, council has sent letters to the commission, and several to the provincial government in an effort to prevent the pot shop from opening in a residential neighbourhood. Ferguson said Hatton Drive “is not the right location” for the pot shop.
Both the Hamilton public school board and the Hamilton Catholic school board have also sent letters to the province objecting to the pot shop location since it is located near several schools.
“Well done AGCO,” said Magyar. “You are a failure. If you do nothing about this egregious ignorance of the rules and regulations, you will further prove to everyone that you have no interest in enforcing the laws.”
Andrea Winchester, a resident in the neighbourhood, who has helped to rally parents in opposition to the pot shop, said she is concerned about the children’s safety with the expected additional traffic the shop will attract. Residents have argued to the city and province the current road design will not be able to accommodate the expected influx of vehicles.
Mitchell is fed up with the commission, who has all but ignored residents and the city’s concerns. She, along with other residents, have contacted bylaw officials about possible infractions against the cannabis shop.
“Nobody is taking responsibility,” said Mitchell. “All we care about is our children. (The pot shop) shouldn’t be located in a residential area.”
A few residents have asked the city to close the end of Hatton Drive and convert it into a cul-de-sac to limit traffic.
Magyar stated that individuals are parking their vehicles without regard to residents safety.
“They just stop there (on Hatton Drive) and park and then yell at you (and you) have no idea what they are doing…,” he said.
But Ferguson is reluctant to consider that option. Instead, he has instructed staff to paint proper lines on the property’s parking area and street so people can park their vehicles.
But residents still say the surrounding roads are unsafe for children, especially along Fiddler’s Green over Highway 403 and the intersection at Fiddlers Green Road, Enmore Ave. and Hatton. They are also worried safety issues will become even more apparent once schools are open and children are walking to schools. And with no sidewalks, children will be forced to walk along the streets.
“Everybody is passing off responsibility, leaving it to the city to do something,” she said. “We want our kids to be safe.”