Pubdate: Thu, 28 Sep 2017
Source: Chatham Daily News, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Chatham Daily News
Author: Louis Pin
Page: A1

Province's pot shop plans have Dutton Dunwich divided

DUTTON DUNWICH - Dutton Dunwich council may want no part of a
provincial pot shop, but it's a different story on the rural
municipality's main street.

As councillors forged ahead Wednesday on a path that could make Dutton
Dunwich the first municipality in the province to declare it doesn't
want the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) to sell marijuana in a
local outlet, several residents said they wouldn't mind if pot was on
the shelves.

"I don't think I would have a problem with that," Jenna Lynch

"They're going to get it anyway," said Butch Smith, another Dutton
resident. "I have no problem with it."

The municipality of 1,400 southwest of London made headlines two weeks
ago when councillors spoke out against a plan by the provincial
government to sell marijuana in stand-alone LCBO outlets to buyers 19
years and older.

Ontario was the first province to reveal plans for marijuana sales
after the federal Liberals legalize recreational use of the drug on
July 1, 2018.

The province will roll out 40 stores next year and could have 150
stores in operation by 2020.

Councillors deferred crafting a zoning bylaw to block the sale of pot
at their Sept. 13 meeting.

Municipal planner Heather James told councillors Wednesday she plans
to attend a cannabis workshop Nov. 3 hosted by Elgin St. Thomas Public
Health. James said she will report back to council after the workshop.

Mayor Cameron McWilliam said municipalities should have a say in
whether provincial pot shops open in their community.

"Council is not interested in having a retail store," he said. "(We
are) interested in being able to control what happens in our community
. . . we're hoping that there's going to be a process."

Dutton Dunwich council has been down this road before with the
province. Council approved a resolution opposing wind turbine
development after a municipal survey of residents found overwhelming
opposition. But a wind farm was imposed on the municipality.

McWilliam fears the same thing could happen with marijuana.

"If it's the same sort of process that they used with the Green Energy
Act, then regardless of what the community says, the province is still
going to dictate where things go."

Councillors said they oppose the sale of marijuana because they don't
want to make it available to young people. They also believe the
municipality would spend more on policing and zoning enforcement than
it would receive in tax revenue.
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