Perth Mayor suggests wait-and-see approach before deciding on Cannabis stores in the town

September 13, 2018 by

News From PerthCome December when newly elected councils are sworn in, they will be faced with making a decision about opting in or out of allowing Cannabis Retail stores in the municipality.

In Perth that new council will be made up of at least three, if not four, novice Councillors.

“I’m recommending that the town of Perth opt out of storefront Cannabis sales for one year in order to assess how other communities have adapted to the realities of Cannabis being sold in their towns,” Perth Mayor John Fenik told Lake 88 on Tuesday.

Just back from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario annual conference, Fenik told Tuesday’s committee that he had attended several sessions on the subject of Cannabis legalization. The window for municipalities to opt in or out is likely to be very short, according to a statement made by Nicole Stewart, Executive lead on Cannabis Retail Implementation Project, at the AMO conference.

The new provincial government is planning to see retails stores opening by April 2019.

“There are a lot of questions around enforcement, public complaints, zoning, POA courts and public health,” said Fenik. “I think a year would give us time to assess and evaluate what works, what doesn’t work and the financial costs to the municipality.”

His remarks received mostly nodding heads around the horseshoe.

“I would be in favour of opting out too, because of safety concerns,” said Councillor Jim Graff, who is running for deputy mayor.

Councillor Jim Boldt, a candidate for Mayor in the election, told Lake 88 Thursday morning, that he believes a new council would need to gather more information before a decision to opt out, for any period of time, or at all would be made.

He also would like to hear what new Councillors have to say on the subject too.

Boldt says Cannabis sales in any form are totally new, and a new council has to take a step-by-step approach before making a decision, a process that he is himself now engaged in before taking a formal position on the issue.

Deputy Mayor John Gemmell, who is also seeking the Mayor's chair, supports a wait-and-see support. In a statement to Lake 88, he said, "There are just to0 many variables in play. The major red flag for me is the collective reaction of the major Police Services in Ontario who on more than one occasion have asked for a six month delay so they could assess the impact of the legislation."

Gemmell added, "A wait a see option is a valid position to adopt as we will have new Councillors after the election and this is an important decision, not just for council, but the community."

With files from Heddy Sorour


1 Comment

  1. Pat meraw

    Can you legally stop someone from opening a store?

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