Pot store not wanted in Dutton Dun­wich

Coun­cil unan­i­mous in op­po­si­tion to pro­vin­cial mar­i­juana plan

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - FRONT PAGE - VICKI GOUGH

It wanted no part of a wind farm im­posed on it by Pre­mier Kath­leen Wynne’s gov­ern­ment against its will.

Now, a South­west­ern On­tario mu­nic­i­pal­ity wants the Lib­eral pre­mier to keep her pot out of its booze store.

Mem­bers of the mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil in Dutton Dun­wich, south­west of Lon­don, were em­phatic at their lat­est meet­ing they don’t want legal mar­i­juana — which the gov­ern­ment plans to sell through its Liquor Con­trol Board of On­tario (LCBO) mo­nop­oly — in their liquor and beer out­let in Dutton.

Coun. Dan McKil­lop raised the is­sue “to show that we don’t want it read­ily avail­able to the young peo­ple in our com­mu­nity,” he said, adding: “I’m to­tally against it.”

Mayor Cameron McWilliam, his deputy and coun­cil­lors Ian Fleck and Mike Hentz are against the sale of mar­i­juana in the com­mu­nity’s liquor out­let as well.

“I don’t want to see it in this mu­nic­i­pal­ity at all,” Fleck said.

“I’m op­posed to the whole idea of le­gal­ized mar­i­juana and ev­ery­thing that goes with it, so I don’t want to see it here in town,” Hentz said.

Wynne’s Lib­er­als be­came the first pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment to roll out plans for mar­i­juana sales next year, af­ter the fed­eral Lib­er­als le­gal­ize recre­ational use of the drug, say­ing pot will be sold in stand-alone LCBO out­lets and its sale lim­ited to buy­ers 19 and older, the same as for booze and smokes. But McWilliam ques­tioned how much re­search has gone into the pro­vin­cial plan.

“The con­cern I also have with the an­nounce­ment from the prov­ince is that it’s just too vague,” he said, adding the set-up costs to reg­u­late the sale of legal pot — many mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties fear they’ll be stuck with polic­ing and zon­ing en­force­ment costs, with­out a cut of the fi­nan­cial ac­tion — re­main un­clear.

I’m op­posed to the whole idea of le­gal­ized mar­i­juana and ev­ery­thing that goes with it.” Mike Hentz

“I just ques­tion if there is any ben­e­fit — if it’s go­ing to cost more than we get on taxes — what’s the point?” McWilliam said.

Coun­cil de­ferred craft­ing a zon­ing by­law to block legal mar­i­juana sales un­til its next meet­ing Sept. 27.

It’s not the first time Dut­tonDun­wich has crossed swords with the Lib­er­als over pro­vin­cial poli­cies the ru­ral mu­nic­i­pal­ity dis­likes.

A hotly con­tested wind farm was im­posed on the town­ship, de­spite a coun­cil res­o­lu­tion op­po­si­tion wind tur­bine de­vel­op­ment on lo­cal turf af­ter a mu­nic­i­pal sur­vey of res­i­dents came back show­ing over­whelm­ing op­po­si­tion to the high­rise-size elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tors.

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