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Councillor hopes city benefits from legal cannabis

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Troy Shantz

A Sarnia councillor says the city must boost communication with the provincial government in anticipation of the legalization of marijuana next year.

“Their decisions will be downloaded to us with the responsibility, so what does that mean to us?” said Coun. Cindy Scholten, who is presenting a report at the Sept. 11 council meeting, calling for staff to monitor decisions and announcements from the province regarding the issue.

“Legalization of cannabis is a big issue, just like introducing a tree bylaw or closing a pool,” said Scholten, who was among a group of Sarnia councillors that attended a recent Association of Municipalities (AMO) conference, where the federal government’s plan to legalize marijuana – on Canada Day 2018 – was a hot topic, and had city officials from across the province seeking answers.

The government has yet to release how recreational cannabis will be bought and sold.

“If the government decides they’re going to do it through like a liquor control board, then I think that will really hurt our community,” said Scholten, noting that both provincially and privately run options were discussed. “That’ll be like a slap in the face.”

Scholten said private retail would benefit municipalities through permits, zoning and taxation as well as an expected increase in job opportunities. She pointed to possible tourism opportunities as well.

“If we are allowed to privately sell it and we can regulate the storefronts, we can sure as heck reap the benefits of the new revenue streams and the new jobs that it’s going to have,” she said. “All the money circulating in the economy, directly in Sarnia, will see a huge benefit to that.”




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