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Powassan changes its mind on cannabis shop

A cannabis operation should be treated just like any other retail operation

In a change of heart, the Municipality of Powassan has decided to let cannabis stores operate in its community of 3,200 people.

Town council voted 4-1 to allow the cannabis outlets into town which is a reversal of a 2018 vote when members of council voted 3-2 to block their entry.

Deputy Mayor Markus Wand was the lone dissenting voice in the updated debate.

In 2018 Wand also voted against allowing cannabis stores into Powassan. In defending his decision Wand said there are plenty of cannabis retail outlets close to Powassan and local residents can buy their drugs at those shops.

“I don't think we have to do what everyone else does,” he said.

It was councillor Randy Hall who brought the issue back to council during the summer at the request of a local resident. During the 2018 vote, Hall voted against allowing the cannabis stores in Powassan. This time he voted in favour but didn't explain why he changed his mind.

Councillor Leo Patey is the only new member on council and said a cannabis operation should be treated just like any other retail operation. In throwing his support toward a cannabis store, Patey noted surrounding communities where the drugs are sold have not reported any concerns.

Councillor Dave Britton's support for a cannabis retail operation remained consistent over the years with Britton voicing his support for the outlet in 2018 and again this year.

Similarly Mayor Peter McIsaac again supported opening the community to a cannabis store just as he did in 2018.

McIsaac told the public that just because the matter came back to council didn't mean someone had an application to open up a cannabis store. The Mayor added he wasn't aware of any application. And even though anyone can now open a drug retail shop, McIsaac said “I don't know if anyone will ever open a cannabis store but the opportunity is there now."

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.