Manitoba communities speaking out about not wanting retail pot sales
Eighteen Manitoba municipalities have said they don’t want marijuana retailers to set up shop when cannabis is legalized this July.
The town of Lac du Bonnet indicated it won’t allow retail stores to open, however the RM has indicated it’s undecided.
The RM of Headingley Mayor John Mauseth said the community’s stance “is not a hard no” and that they are waiting for more information before making a concrete decision.
So far out of 137 municipalities, 97 are in favour of retail stores setting up to sell pot, 18 have indicated no and 22 are undecided.
The Association of Manitoba Municipalities wants 33 per cent of the tax revenue to cover start up costs.
The province says a decision hasn’t been made in terms of how tax revenue will be split with municipalities.
“As we’ve said from the start it’s important to be realistic in any expectation of new tax revenue from the cannabis market,” a statement from Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton read.
“The reality is the provinces and territories will bear the majority of costs associated with the health, social and policing implications of legalized cannabis, including establishing the regulatory and distribution system.”
Rural communities saying no to pot sales for now
In Lac du Bonnet, the mayor says he wouldn’t want to see pot sales in town.
“We’re certainly fully in favour of business development but we want that business development to be something that will enrich the community, not harm it,” mayor Gordon Peters said.
Many people agreed with the mayor’s stance to keep marijuana stores out of the town.
“It’s just not a good thing. I wouldn’t want to see it here,” Luanna Stelko said. “The kids have enough trouble they can get into without having marijuana legalized. I’m totally against it.”
Ed Dubray, the Mayor Beausejour, said the “no” vote was because before Christmas they didn’t have a lot of information.
“We hadn’t really got a copy of the legislation yet, we were promised some zoning templates in terms of how we could let these retail outlets run,” he said.
He said they’re open-minded.
“There is an opportunity here but likewise it has its concerns,” he said.
Eileen Martin lives in the community. She said she would like to see marijuana stores open.
“I would like to see it being sold in my community. I think it would eliminate all the underground stuff. If it’s going to be legal, why can’t we get it?” she asked. “It’s legal, so might as well bring it in. I’m all for it.”
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