High hopes for pot store
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.