Vaudreuil-Dorion mayor asks residents where their weed shop should go

Mayor Guy Pilon says he wishes he didn't have to deal with the issue of cannabis consumption at all and feels it's been dumped on him, but since he has no choice, he wants residents to have a say in where the cannabis store will set up shop.

Mayor Guy Pilon has organized a public meeting for Sept. 4 so people can have their say

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon says the city wants its cannabis shop to open in a commercial zone, such as De La Gare Boulevard. (CBC)

When cannabis is legalized in less than two months, some 20 government-run weed shops are set to open across Quebec.

Eventually, one of the stores, which will be called the Sociéte québécoise de cannabis (SQC), is expected to open for business in Vaudreuil-Dorion — something the city's mayor says he isn't thrilled about.

"I'm very sad, very mad about it, because we're receiving it, we have to do the rules, we have to change the smoking in the park, and how much money do we have for that? Nothing," said Guy Pilon.

But, since it's federal law, Pilon has to roll with the punches.

That's why he has organized a special city council meeting to find out where his residents want the city's first cannabis store to set up shop.

Pilon already has some criteria in mind.

"You don't want to be near a residential area. You don't want to be near a school," Pilon said.

There are already strict rules about where new cannabis stores can be — they can't set up within 250 metres of schools and daycares (150 metres in the City of Montreal) or in enclosed shopping centres.

The stores must be "sober" in appearance, there will be no promotion or encouragement to consume cannabis  whatsoever, and the products can't be visible from outside.

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon has organized a special city council meeting to find out where residents want the city's first cannabis store to set up shop. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

Earlier this month, it was announced that an SQC would open at the corner of Chemin Ste-Foy and the Robert-Bourassa Highway in Quebec City — about 500 metres from CEGEP Sainte-Foy.

Education Minister Sébastien Proulx said he felt the location was too close to the CEGEP.

In Montreal, cannabis stores, which are run by the SAQ, are expected to pop up in a variety of spots, including along Plaza St-Hubert, and near Berri-UQAM, Lionel-Groulx and Radisson Metro stations.

'They will open anyway'

For Vaudreuil-Dorion's shop, Pilon says only commercial zones will be accepted, such as on De La Gare Boulevard, where there are plenty of shops and restaurants.

"We sent [the SAQ] the proposition, and from that point on … they will look and they will rent a building on those areas, only on commercial zones," Pilon said.

SAQ spokesperson Mathieu Gaudreault said meeting with municipalities and taking their opinions into account are big deciding factors in where to put outlets.

Pilon says residents will be able to express their opinions and concerns at the public meeting, which will take place Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. at City Hall on Dutrisac Street.

"The fact is, they will open anyway," Pilon said of the stores. "So we prefer to pick the place."

With files from CBC Montreal Daybreak and Kate McKenna