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Centre Wellington continues cannabis store ban

Plants are shown at a California Street Cannabis Company location in San Francisco on March 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) Plants are shown at a California Street Cannabis Company location in San Francisco on March 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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Cannabis stores are still not welcome in Centre Wellington.

The township’s council voted last night against allowing legal pot stores to set up shop within the community.

Councillors have been voting against the retail stores since the federal government first legalized the sale of cannabis back in 2018.

One of the major concerns voiced by councillors over the years is the lack of control the township would have on how many stores would be allowed and where they could be located.

A recommendation before council from the economic advisory committee read the committee, “recognizes the economic opportunities and benefits of retail cannabis stores, however, until the municipality can control the location and number of retail stores, the committee does not support opting in to permitting them at this time.”

During last night’s debate, Councillor Barbara Lustgarten-Evoy spoke against opting-in and allowing the stores to operate within the township.

“We’re not talking about a regular business. We’re talking about drugs,” she said.

“Drugs affect children’s wellbeing and we know that the number of users are up. It’s not selling shoes or milk, it’s selling drugs. Because we have almost no say on where [cannabis stores] would go and we know a number of our youth are smoking more and anecdotally using a lot more, I cannot get behind this.”

Councillor Jennifer Adams said she was also disappointed in the implementation rules from the province, but spoke in favour of opting-in.

“We just had another announcement by the province over the past seven days. Alcohol is a drug and it’s coming to every convenience store near you by the end of the summer. Potentially, our province is looking at those regulations and hoping, maybe, they’ll look into expanding some minimum separations there,” Adams said.

“Anytime those minimum separation distance tools become available to us, I would be there to support them, but I don’t believe it’s our role as a municipal government to try to control the market, and so I will be voting to opt-in.”

Centre Wellington residents can still order cannabis products online legally through the Ontario Cannabis Store and have it delivered to their homes.

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