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The right decision on a tough issue

(Cartoon by George Longley)

It was not an easy decision, and one not to be taken lightly.

But at the end of the day, Oshawa city council made the right choice by voting to allow private retail cannabis stores in the city.

Since October, cannabis has been legal in Canada and that is the most important factor council had to consider in the matter.

As Councillor Bob Chapman stated, if it is legal, it needs to be regulated.

Councillor Rosemary McConkey argued that it would make sense to take a wait and see approach, and while there is merit in that viewpoint, it would have been delaying the inevitable decision either way.

As with any substance, including alcohol, there are negatives to marijuana.

It is a big change in our society, and seeing stores where people can buy something that previously had to be through illegal means will no doubt be quite surprising for a number of residents.

But it is important to note that with only 25 stores expected to open on April 1, 2019, there will be no proliferation of cannabis stores in Oshawa and we will not see these establishments popping up on every street corner.

There were plenty of industry representatives who explained how these stores will do their business, and sounds like these will be watched over by the province and the municipality.

It is unfortunate the city has little ability to decide where the stores can be located, but that is the card that has been dealt for the time being.

There were 435 respondents to a survey put out by the city on the possibility of pot stores.

More than 63 per cent of those who responded said yes.

There were some arguments that if more people had known about the survey those numbers may be different.

The City of Oshawa advertised the public consultation on its website, social media, and in print media such as The Oshawa Express.

There were only two public speakers against stores at the meeting where council made its decision.

There was mention of a ‘silent majority’ that is against the idea, but it appears they were truly silent on the issue.