Saugeen Shores Council voted unanimously to opt in (stay silent) when it comes to cannabis retail stores in the community.
In a recent public survey by the town, Jay Pausner, Development Coordinator Public Works and Engineering, reported that it had received the highest public input of any survey issued by the town. With more than 1,600 responses across all age ranges, 80 per cent supported retail stores for cannabis.
Pausner said that usage may be based around alcohol regulations when it comes to public spaces. “The Smoke Free regulations specify areas where smoking cannot take place but, at places like the beaches, people can smoke. When it comes to alcohol however, it is more stringently regulated under Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGO)., but nothing has been decided as yet.”
Saugeen Shores Council would also like to see a ‘harmonization’ or consultation with other municipalities in Bruce County when it comes to regulations regarding enforcement of cannabis usage.
“I know that other municipalities are interested in consultation to enable optimum chances of enforcing the regulations,” said Mayor Luke Charbonneau. “Saugeen Shores is making a concerted effort to stop drug dealers and the Police Chief we hired has extensive expertise in drug enforcement. We are very fortunate to have our own police force and they will be relentless in pursuing those in the black market business and will be driving illegal dealer out by ensuring their market dries up.”
With the recent government announcing a lottery where only 25 licenses are being issued to communities of more than 50,000 population, Vice Deputy Mayor Mike Myatt raised concerns saying that those who want to access cannabis will continue to do so either by traveling to the larger centres or on the black market. “Our citizens got it right as evidenced by the survey. It should be regulated and made more accessible legally.”
The deadline for municipalities to opt out of sales is January 22nd. All municipal governments will receive at least $10,000 to support transition to legal cannabis and the province will announce the full funding allocation in the future. As of April 1, 2019, those over the age of 19 will be able to legally purchase recreational cannabis.