The provincial government is seeking public input on whether and in what fashion consumers should be allowed to purchase and consume cannabis in designated public spaces such as cafes and at special events like music festivals.
“We are asking Ontarians to share their feedback as we explore certain expanded cannabis-related business opportunities as part of our responsible approach to protecting families and communities,” said Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey in a release. “What we hear from the public and expert groups will help inform possible next steps.”
You can let the Province know what you think by filling out an online form provided by Ontario’s Regulatory Registry. The deadline to provide feedback is March 10. I’m going to provide feedback and I think the Town should officially provide feedback as well. Feel free to email me your thoughts on this issue.
I personally believe cannabis should be treated similarly to alcohol, which means allowing adults the option to purchase and consume the product in designated spaces and providing entrepreneurs a clear and fair regulatory framework so they can build a business that safely and responsibly caters to public demand.
Cannabis is now legal and it represents an economic opportunity for entrepreneurs and a new era for consumers, who have been forced for decades to smoke in the shadows and purchase cannabis from the black market, enriching criminals while generating zero tax revenue that could be used to promote the public good.
The majority of Town residents who provided me their opinions about whether or not the Town should support Cannabis retail outlets were supportive of the concept. It’s an economic opportunity, they said, and whether or not they agreed with the legalization of cannabis, that ship had sailed. It was legal, they reasoned, and the Town should treat it as such.
The same logic holds true for Cannabis consumption in regulated public places. It’s an economic opportunity for entrepreneurs and it would provide a safe space in Town for visitors and residents so they wouldn’t have to travel to Windsor or even farther to purchase and consume cannabis in a public setting with like-minded adults.
Let the people vote with their feet. If there’s no demand for on-site consumption of cannabis, the businesses will either never open or they will soon go under. If the demand is there, the customers will come, creating jobs along with property tax and sales tax revenue.
A century of prohibition has created a stigma around cannabis and a robust black market that is proving very difficult to dismantle. The black market costs taxpayers dearly in the form of foregone tax revenues and money and resources spent on enforcement efforts that could otherwise be directed to more pressing priorities.
Retail outlets and cannabis consumption cafes and events can help reduce that stigma and gut the black market through education and by giving consumers what they want, where and when they want it, at a price to which they do not object.