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Hanover to rehash cannabis question

By: Dave Baxter

Posted: 08/26/2018 8:45 AM

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After first saying no to pot, Hanover will now go back to the drawing board when it comes to the decision of whether or not they will allow retail cannabis sales in the municipality.

Back in May, Hanover council voted unanimously to not allow retail cannabis sales. Reeve Stan Toews stated at the time that current government guidelines would not have even allowed for cannabis businesses to be set up in most of the major communities in the municipality.

But Toews now says that since that decision by Hanover, the province has announced they will require all Manitoba municipalities to hold a referendum before denying retail pot sales in their communities.

In a letter sent to all municipal councils, CAOs and SEOs, the province stated the responsibilities of municipalities regarding plebiscites in accordance to the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Act.

Toews said on Tuesday the municipality will now be taking its retail cannabis decision back to council.

"We believe that our decision is now a void decision because the province said at the time we didn’t need a referendum, and later said we do need a referendum, so now we have to deal with it again,’" Toews said.

"We found this out about a month after we went to a vote."

Toews said he is frustrated that council will now have to revisit the issue, and added he has been frustrated with much of the process of the roll out of cannabis legalization in the past year.

"The province just keeps coming out with more and more info in little snippets," Toews said. "It is a pain in the butt that we now have to deal with this again.

"We’re not happy about this, and there have been other things about this cannabis thing that have been tough to deal with because it keeps coming in bits and pieces.

"It would be nice if they would just give you the whole gamut and then you know what you are up against."

Toews added he does not personally believe that Hanover will go to a referendum when it comes to pot sales, but he said that decision will be made in council.

"I don’t think we will do a referendum. I don’t see that happening but we haven’t yet discussed it," Toews said.

Toews said he is not yet sure when the issue will be brought back to council for discussion.

In an email the a provincial spokesperson said that Manitoba municipalities may conduct a plebiscite to coincide with the 2018 municipal elections in Manitoba, or can also conduct them any time before Jan. 1, 2022.

The municipalities of Steinbach, Stuartburn, Riding Mountain West, Winkler, Wallace-Woodworth, Stanley and Snow Lake have all informed the province they will be holding a plebiscite on retail cannabis sales to coincide with their municipal elections, according to the province.

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