Article by Shane Gibson, CBC News
Most Manitoba mayors, reeves and councillors tell CBC they plan to allow retail pot sales in their communities and notified the province of that intention in a survey Friday.
At the end of November, the Progressive Conservative government gave municipalities until noon on Dec. 22 to say either “yes” or “no” to the pot question through a survey sent by the Association of Manitoba Municipalities on behalf of the provincial government.
CBC News contacted leaders from 137 municipalities leading up to the Friday deadline — and found about 60 per cent plan to allow retail pot in their communities.
In total, 84 municipalities told CBC they informed the province they plan to allow marijuana sales, while 13 said no, 28 abstained and 12 did not respond to or declined CBC’s request for information.
“The survey on cannabis legalization is entirely voluntary, in the spirit of ‘fair say,’ to gather information for immediate-term planning purposes,” said a statement from a spokesperson for the provincial government.
“We will continue to have open and ongoing dialogue with municipalities on the subject as we work to establish a competitive retail environment that creates economic opportunities at the local level.”
Among the municipalities that said they would allow pot sales were larger urban centres, including Winnipeg, Brandon, Dauphin, Minnedosa, Portage la Prairie, Selkirk, Swan River and Thompson.
Beausejour, Gimli and Lac du Bonnet were among the 12 that said no. Meanwhile Churchill, Winkler, Virden, Morris and East St. Paul said they weren’t giving an answer either way.
“It’s not a yes and it’s not a no, either,” Rural Municipality of Hanover Reeve Stan Toews said about his council’s decision to stay neutral.
“We’re going to check our zoning bylaws, see how that would all fit in, and we’re waiting on more information because we don’t have enough information to say ‘yes’ or say ‘no.'”