High hopes for pot store

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON News Staff

Although no one in On­tario will be able to open a pri­vate re­tail es­tab­lish­ment to sell mar­i­juana un­til the new year, at least one Glen­garry res­i­dent is chomp­ing at the bit and ready to go.

Lan­caster res­i­dent Shawn Fowler has an empty store­front on the vil­lage’s main street. He thinks it would be ideal for a pot shop.

“We’re not do­ing what we used to do,” says the af­fa­ble 38-year-old, al­lud­ing to the time when 191 Mil­i­tary Road was home to a bak­ery and a restau­rant. “When the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives an­nounced that they would al­low for pri­vate busi­nesses [to sell mar­i­juana], it piqued my in­ter­est.”

Mr. Fowler says that open­ing such a store will not be an easy process and, in fact, will be very de­mand­ing.

“I don’t think this is go­ing to be a get-richquick thing; it’s go­ing to be an in­vest­ment,” he says. “I will have to put in a lot of time and late nights.”

He says he’ll need three dif­fer­ent li­cences to get the ball rolling.

He ex­pects to spend about $10,000 in li-

cens­ing and fran­chise fees.

“Then I have to pay to stock the place,” he says. “This is life-chang­ing.”

How­ever, South Glen­garry Town­ship will have to de­cide whether it wants such es­tab­lish­ments in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

He notes that there are al­ready sev­eral re­stric­tions. How­ever, he’s had in­for­mal dis­cus­sions with sev­eral mem­bers of the in­com­ing coun­cil and, so far, they seem re­cep­tive.

New Deputy-Mayor Lyle War­den feels that the mar­i­juana leg­is­la­tion was rushed by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment but now ac­cepts

that it’s a le­gal prod­uct.

“Since it’s le­gal, I don’t want to get in the way of a busi­ness sell­ing a le­gal prod­uct,” he says.

Rookie Coun­cil­lor Sam McDonell feels, more or less, the same way. He says he is not a mar­i­juana user and never has been, but can’t see an is­sue with hav­ing a brick and mor­tar store in the town­ship. He points out that you can or­der mar­i­juana on­line any­way and that by hav­ing a store in the town­ship, peo­ple look­ing for the prod­uct will stop here and, per­haps, spend money at other busi­nesses.

Mr. McDonell says the big chal­lenge will be draft­ing leg­is­la­tion on where weed can be con­sumed and en­sur­ing this leg­is­la­tion is in line across the three coun­ties.

Fel­low rookie Coun­cil­lor

Stephanie Ja­worski agrees, say­ing she would view cannabis the same way she views al­co­hol.

“We have neigh­bours who op­er­ate li­censed es­tab­lish­ments, like pubs and LCBO stores, who are able to abide by the rules,” she says. “I don’t see why it would be any dif­fer­ent with cannabis.”

She adds that cannabis leg­is­la­tion would, in the long run, stop the prof­its from mar­i­juana from go­ing to crim­i­nals.

For his part, Mr. Fowler says that mar­i­juana leg­is­la­tion is al­ready quite re­stric­tive. He says his store would only be able to sell what is avail­able through the On­tario Cannabis Store. He couldn’t sell any­thing else like potato chips or other snacks to treat the post-buzz munchies.

“Pro­hi­bi­tion is over,” he says.

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