An expected candidate for mayor says city hall should have a role to play in where head shops can operate in Winnipeg.
Coun. Scott Fielding, chairman of the Winnipeg Police Board, said there is concern within the community when businesses selling items that can be used for the enjoyment of illegal drugs set up close to schools.
"I think through zoning, we can control where they are going."
Fielding (St. James-Brooklands) was commenting on news reports that 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.
Fielding said these businesses should be regulated on a conditional use basis, which would require the holding of a public hearing.
Fielding said the liberalization of drug laws is being discussed at all levels of government and society, adding the issue in Winnipeg is where they are operating – not should they be operating.
The zoning would not restrict what head shops can sell, but where they are located, he said.
"A conditional use would allow it in certain areas but would call for a public hearing," Fielding said following this morning’s police board meeting. "If there is a lot of concern from residents….people can come out and have their say and then council can make a decision in terms of the locations."
Deputy-chief Dave Thorne said he couldn’t say if the WPS has launched a city-wide crackdown on head shops, adding charges against the Elmwood operator were prompted by complaints from several area residents.