The new council will get to decide whether Sault Ste. Marie should welcome private cannabis stores within the city or opt out of having them.
To me, it is a no-brainer.
After all, they will be legal entities. The only difference between these stores and LCBO outlets is that they will be privately operated whereas LCBO outlets are operated by the government.
It was interesting to note the views of the mayoral candidates published by The Sault Star.
Incumbent Christian Provenzano said he believes that if the sale of marijuana is a legal activity, then consumers should have the right to purchase it legally and that right should include the right to purchase it in Sault Ste. Marie, either through privately-operated or government-operated stores.
Challenger Rory Ring, on leave from his position as Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, says he wants the government to launch a full engagement process with all stakeholders and decide after that whether we want to have a cannabis store here.
Challenger Ted Johnson, who would prefer government-run stores, said he believes Sault Ste. Marie would have no choice but to allow cannabis stores operate because if it doesn’t, other places that do will get all the business. Newcomer Kemal Martinovic said he doesn’t believe any form of cannabis stores should exist, whether government or privately run.
As you can see from my intro to this piece, I see Provenzano and Johnson as having nailed it. The members of this community should not be denied what will be readily available to those in other communities.
I would prefer that the stores be government-operated, as was proposed by the former Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne, but the new provincial government of Doug Ford has decided otherwise and I can live with that.
The government has given communities a one-time shot at opting out of allowing cannabis stores within their boundaries.
I don’t agree with that.
I can’t see why the government would allow communities this option, to in effect allow communities to institute prohibition. If it is going to be legal to sell Cannabis, so it should be available to all.
I think the present council agrees and I trust the new one will too.
Ward 2 Coun. Susan Myers, claiming that marijuana can be a gateway to more dangerous substances, put forward a resolution earlier this year that would have seen council oppose the establishment of any retail cannabis outlet in the city.
Her resolution was overwhelmingly rejected by council, as well it should have been.
There will always be arguments made against the sale of marijuana, just as they were at one time levelled against the sale of alcohol.
But the fact is that the status quo was not working. People were getting marijuana through the black market, through a criminal element, and were facing criminal charges, which could affect their lives for years to come, for simple possession.
So I fully support the legalization of it.
And I similarly support its sale in this city.
Think about it.
If it is not for sale here, what is going to be the result.
Users will either have to purchase their supplies through the black market, which no doubt will continue to thrive in the Sault if there is no legal source, or they will have to travel, probably to Sudbury, to purchase them.
Neither way is a win for anyone.