Council votes to opt in for retail cannabis

Editor’s Note Jan.23 2019:  For readers who wish to see the breakdown of all municipalities:

At tonight’s Special Council Meeting, the Township of Madawaska Valley voted to allow private retail cannabis stores in the municipality. The decision came just before the expiry of the deadline to notify the province whether the municipality would opt-in or opt-out. After a short report summarizing relevant considerations on the topic presented by CAO/Clerk Sue Klatt, Council heard what the public had to say.

Their comments and questions covered a wide range of topics, including:

  • Health needs for members of the community
  • Concern for youth
  • Economic development
  • Concern about costs of policing and by-law enforcement

Following the public comments, CAO Klatt presented her report suggesting that if Council voted to opt-in she recommended they add some notifications and directions to the Resolution. For further details click HERE to read the full Resolution.

Councillors Bromwich, Shulist and Willmer voted in favour of opting-in. Councillor Bromwich felt it was about time that cannabis was legalized citing several historical studies. He said MV should be a leader, not a follower. Councillor Shulist stated that the law now meant cannabis could be viewed the same as alcohol; there was no stigma attached to it. Councillor Willmer said a benefit of licensed outlets was that it reduced the risk of users being exposed to inferior and perhaps dangerous product.

Councillor Peplinski voted against, expressing concern about policing costs. He said that new information was becoming available all the time and he would therefore prefer to await further developments before deciding to opt-in.

Mayor Love, who had two weeks ago indicated she was not in favour of opting-in, explained that recent developments had caused her to change her mind, including the fact that because of the limitations imposed on new licences a considerable amount of time would now pass (until December 2019 at the earliest) before anyone could apply to open a pot shop in MV. This eased some of her concerns as the Township could learn from the experiences of other municipalities. Further, she said that opting-out would deprive MV of shares in much-needed funding available only for opted-in municipalities.

2 Comments

  1. Nat Hall

    a few more facts on this , Municipalities that have chosen to opt out can reconsider and welcome the stores anytime. But a decision to allow them is irrevocable.

    Communities that refused the stores, however, have forsaken their full stake in a $40-million implementation fund the province is providing to help defray any increased policing, education or public health costs the shops may bring to welcoming municipalities.

    The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will release a full list on Wednesday morning showing how all 314 communities granted the opt-out right by the province voted, spokesperson Ray Kahnert said in an email.

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