Head shops will be banned from operating near schools if a civic committee has its way.
Councillors on the protection and community services committee this morning asked the administration to review procedures that would control retailers selling drug paraphernalia through zoning regulations.
"I don’t have a problem with them operating but having them close to schools is sending a message to school-aged children that the we condone the drug lifestyle," Coun. Ross Eadie said.
Eadie said that the so-called head shops – legitimate retailers whose inventory includes materials used in the enjoyment of marijuana, including rolling papers and pipes of various designs -- used to be located in the downtown area but he added that more and more seem to be located now outside the core and near schools.
Coun. Scott Fielding, who brought the issue to the committee this morning, said if head shop businesses were made a conditional use, then their location would be subject to a public hearing where residents could voice their concerns.
The issue of head shop operators came to the forefront last week when an Elmwood store owner was charged with selling drug paraphernalia and the owner of the popular Osborne Village store Wild Planet said the apparent police crackdown is prompting him to sell his business.
Winnipeg police issued a statement Friday denying a crackdown is in force for one operator who said police gave him 30 days to get rid of the drug paraphernalia or face arrest.
Coun. Harvey Smith expressed caution that his colleagues might be over-reacting, adding he wants any administrative report to include data on how many head shops operate in the city and where they are located.