Article by Trevor Wilhelm, Windsor Star
Lakeshore council decided Tuesday to allow a bricks and mortar cannabis store in the town after opting out a year ago.
“We missed the boat because we delayed,” said Coun. Steven Wilder, who brought the motion to opt in after a lengthy and lively debate. “Wake up folks. This is less harmful than tobacco and alcohol. Enough is enough.”
In 2018, the province announced that municipalities could “opt out” of allowing privately licensed cannabis retail stores in their communities, and still retain the right to “opt in” at a later date. But the province also ruled that a decision to opt in could not be reversed.
Along with Lakeshore, Tecumseh and LaSalle voted to opt out. Windsor, Amherstburg, Leamington, Kingsville, Essex and Pelee Island opted in.
In Ontario’s second lottery — the method the province has used to choose cannabis stores applicants— London restaurateur Kirk Anastasiadis was chosen to open a shop in downtown Windsor. The opening of that store has so far been delayed two months with no word on when it might open.
Lakeshore council voted to opt out of having a cannabis store in December 2018. A report that went to council Tuesday night stated the decision was based on a “wait and watch approach” that will give staff a chance to gauge the opinions of residents, businesses, and other municipalities.
Mayor Tom Bain, who voted in favour of opting in on Tuesday, voted against it the first time. He previously said the town initially opted out because they didn’t have enough information. But he also said the idea was worth reviewing in a year or so.
The town launched an online survey and held a public meeting in November at the Atlas Tube centre to get feedback from residents.