Cannabis meeting draws sparse crowd

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Town of Amherstburg held a public meeting on the issue of cannabis and the possibility of retail stores in town but not a lot of people came out to voice their views.

A crowd of about 15 people attended last Thursday night’s meeting in the Libro Centre’s downstairs community room, with some being incoming council members and members of administration. The presentation was run in collaboration with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

Nicole Rubli, manager of licensing and enforcement with the town, said the legalization of cannabis “has kept us on our toes.” Rubli said she has been to five conferences on the matter with different information coming out of all five. Some regulations, she noted, were issued only hours before the public meeting.

“The municipality has had to look at a moving target,” she said.

Under the province’s Cannabis Control Act, it prohibits the sale of recreational cannabis to anyone under the age of 19, prohibits those under 19 to possess, cultivate, consume or share any amount of recreational cannabis and notes that adults can possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis. Under the federal Cannabis Act, four cannabis plants per household may be grown.

The province has announced that consumption of cannabis may be done in the same places as tobacco with consumption prohibited in vehicles and boats. Retail shops have to be at least 150 metres from a school, according to provincial legislation.

Melissa Valentik from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit addresses the public at a meeting regarding cannabis held at the Libro Centre Nov. 15.

The town’s smoke-free bylaw prohibits smoking or vaping in all parks, recreational fields, playground areas, municipal trails and within nine metres of an entrance/exit to a municipal building.

Melissa Valentik, health promotion specialist with the health unit, outlined health issues surrounding recreational cannabis use, noting its addictive influence and potential health issues.

“Cannabis isn’t harmless because it’s a plant,” said Valentik, adding it has several carcinogens, toxins and irritants found in tobacco smoke.

Residents were encouraged to provide feedback, with licensing officer Andrea Pelaccia noting people can use the town’s “Talk the Burg” website found at www.talktheburg.ca. Rubli noted a report is going before council Dec. 10

Local resident Alison Baldwin didn’t believe the town gave enough notice for feedback. She believed it should have been put out to the public sooner, but Rubli said the town is on strict deadlines and that the legislation is coming at them fast and has been ever-changing. Del Oxford questioned use of online methods for feedback, believing it could hinder seniors from giving their views.

Rubli noted that concerns can also be written and mailed to town hall.

Luigi DiPierdomenico believed the town was doing a good job bringing information to the public as soon as it was received. He noted that the only cannabis store in the region was originally only going to be in Windsor.

Local resident and business owner John Pelletier believed opening cannabis retail shops in town could prove beneficial.

“I just see the opportunity of people coming to this town. It’s a small town, but we have a lot to offer,” he said. “Every municipality can gain some money if they open up retail shops.”

 

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