Should ‘pot’ stores open here?

Will we make the selling of cannabis (a.k.a. marijuana or pot) legal in Fort Frances?
Beginning on Oct. 17, Ontario residents aged 19 and over will be able to purchase cannabis online across the province and then in retail outlets beginning in April.
Municipalities have until Jan. 22, 2019 to determine if they wish to have cannabis sold by local retailers in their communities. Sometime before Jan. 22, councils will have to make a decision.
Over the past 12 months, we have witnessed how two different governments in Ontario would handle the issue of cannabis sales. Under the previous Liberal government, cannabis sales only would take place through provincially-operated stores.
The new Conservative government under Premier Doug Ford, through a series of announcements, has made it clear the LCBO will not be in the “pot” business and that private retailers and online sales will be the sellers of cannabis.
The next elected council of Fort Frances will have make a decision on whether or not to permit local retailers to sell cannabis. Across the district, each municipality will be able to make a similar decision.
The decision will provide for an interesting debate between the councillors. If they choose to reject cannabis sales in their community, they may in future be able to review the decision.
If council chooses to opt in, the decision cannot be reviewed in the future. It will be all or nothing.
The law now permits those 19 and over to buy, possess, and use recreational cannabis after Oct. 17. People will be able to smoke or vape cannabis in many of the same locations that currently permit the smoking of tobacco.
And just as using alcohol and driving while intoxicated, one should not drive while impaired by cannabis.
The retailing of cannabis could be a great economic boost for the economy of Fort Frances. While the use of marijuana remains illegal to use or purchase in Minnesota, the new provincial rules could attract “cannabis tourists” to our side of the river.
In Colorado and Washington state, both jurisdictions already have seen recreational tourist cannabis-users arrive to enjoy the highs of the drug.
In future years, tourists instead of asking where the beer or liquor store is located, they also may be asking where they can pick up their preferred brand of marijuana.
It is noted that councils will not be able to designate areas where retailers can sell cannabis. Councils also cannot control the number of retailers in their community selling cannabis.
One might wonder who might be the first to sell cannabis? Will it be a mom-and-pop store? Or will it be a national franchise like Shoppers, or a grocery chain or coffee chain?
Are people more likely to buy online if a local retailer is not available to sell cannabis?

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