New Tecumseth opts in to permitting cannabis retail stores
New Tecumseth councillors were 6-4 in a recorded vote approving the
Town as a willing host for future cannabis retail stores. There is no
opting out now.
Mayor Rick Milne, Deputy Mayor Richard Norcross, and ward councillors
Michael Beattie, Stephanie MacLellan, Shira Harrison McIntyre, and Alan
Lacey voted in favour. Councillors Wayne Noye, Paul Foster, Fran
Sainsbury, and Donna Jebb, against.
Retail outlets are not expected to pop up in New Tecumseth until the
provincial government expands beyond the inaugural round of 25 licenses
spread across five regions in Ontario. And when they do, last night's motion includes creating a 300 metre buffer from any school, up from the 150 metres the Province set in its policy.
Council's decision included results of a public survey that featured
over 1,000 replies concluding with an approximate 70/30 split in favour.
But Ward 3 councillor Paul Foster questioned the merits of the survey
because there were no controls as to who took part in it as it was
available to anyone that followed the online link.
"So I just like to understand, is it fair to suggest that we have no
idea of the age of the people, we have no idea of the location of where
they came from, we have no idea whether this was accessed through
multiple devices, whether you could use a similar device with the same
IP address on a daily basis to access that survey," said Mr. Foster.
"The reason why I ask the question is I'm trying to determine whether
or not that survey really has any merits of any significance that we
should use in our deliberations about this opt in or opt out."
Planning Director Bruce Hoppe did confirm the survey was "unscientific"
and meant to "arm council with more information."
So then it’s fair to say that referencing this as an overwhelmingly
majority of people support this is a 100 per cent incorrect statement,"
added Mr. Foster, "it’s a wild assumption at best."
Ward 4 councillor Fran Sainsbury also paid little heed to the survey
results, suggesting it was a small sample size out of population of
"I have a real concern that we’re catering to a handful that wish to
use this, which is fine, that’s their choice," said Ms. Sainsbury.
"People who responded may already be smokers."
Nottawasaga OPP inspector Steve Clegg was on hand to answer policing
questions, and told councillors the community already had a blackmarket
"I can’t say for sure if a store front operation will eliminate the
blackmarket, there’s a lot of variables at play here when it comes to
pricing and the quality of product," said Inspector Clegg. "What I
personally feel more assured about is the fact the source of the
marijuana product in the store front operation is 100 per cent
controlled through Health Canada from a regulatory production facility,
so the quality product being sold through these store front operations
would be good quality products and we wouldn’t have to worry about the
nonsense of bad chemicals and things like that in blackmarket type
Ward 3 councillor Michael Beattie, speaking in favour of opting in,
said the results of the public input were conclusive.
"What we heard in the survey is to me a really clear indication the
direction where the people want to go," said Mr. Beattie. "This is not
1919. This is 2019, it’s a legal product that’s heavily regulated by
the provincial government, and it’s legally allowed to be purchased and
That was echoed by Ward 6 councillor Stephanie MacLellan who took issue
with questions about the survey results.
"I’d like to actually say thank you to all the people who did fill out
the survey," said Ms. MacLellan. "I find part of my role as a
councillor is to encourage public participation and having councillors
sit up here and rip this survey to shreds is not going to do that. I
guess I see it more as people are interested, and 1,000 people is still
a lot to get on this survey. Ido have faith in the alcohol and gaming
commission that they will place these stores properly. I think our
blackmarket may not increase but it may not go away if we don’t have
these stores here."
Ward 7 councillor Shira Harrison McIntyre pointed out the cannabis
stores will also sell Cannabidiol or CBD, which is "a cannabis compound
that has significant medical benefits, but does not make people feel
“stoned” and can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC."
"I’d also like to point out there are people that will be purchasing
CBD and other products for things like cancer treatment, anxiety
depression all sorts of medical reasons," said Ms. Harrison McIntyre,
"and I don’t think there’s any reason that they have to leave our
community in order to purchase those products."