Article by Tshweu Moleme, Orillia Matters
A cannabis shop does belong downtown, as do many a business.
I find Coun. Ralph Cipolla’s position to be problematic in so many ways, but I’ll offer a few:
Council should welcome this business on the main street, in a store that’s sat there empty for quite some time, all sad. We should all welcome such great use of the space.
There’s nothing illegal, nothing to hide, in the operation of this business at this particular location. The law allows for it to exist and reports indicate that they do have an application submitted to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
The world is changing. What was illegal yester-year, is now legal. [And] one’s values (personal or familial) won’t be held or shared by all.
As for the temporary signage that’s currently in place, I must say that it’s actually brought some dignity to that space.
It is also important to study the business in question – their history, other locations, and so on. See who they are and how they operate and, if still concerned, talk to them.
It will be a terrible mistake to push business away at a time like this; a time when many are closing forever, due to COVID-19. We need businesses and investments in our community now more than ever, bringing Orillia much needed money and jobs.
We need modern, innovative, not antiquated thinking that still consider weed an illegal, unwanted drug, and those using it to not belong downtown.
We need to stop perpetuating old myths. We need to educate ourselves and the young; to know that covering our eyes or looking away every time we walk by a cannabis store (at any location) won’t make it go away. There’s more harm in holding onto old, tired myths and stigmas.