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County councillor advocates for legal pot sales in Centre Wellington

A man hoping to open a legal cannabis store has the support of a county councillor
County councillor Diane Ballantyne and John Mifsud, who would like to open a cannabis store.

CENTRE WELLINGTON — A county councillor was one of those calling for legal cannabis sales in Centre Wellington on Monday.

Prospective pot store owner John Mifsud and county councillor Diane Ballantyne explained why they believe legal cannabis sale would benefit Centre Wellington and that they would like to see council revisit opting in to legal sales.

“And so our ask here this evening is that council direct staff to commission a report regarding the opting in process and then bring that to council to have a vote regarding whether we will opt in for retail cannabis legislation or not,” Ballantyne said at a committee of the whole meeting.

When marijuana was legalized in 2018, Centre Wellington opted out of having cannabis sold legally in the township. Mifsud and Ballantyne want to change that.

Mifsud lives in Fergus with his partner Grace. He intends to open a cannabis selling retail outlet.

Coun. Lisa MacDonald made sure that Mifsud would act ethically and legally should cannabis sale be permitted. 

“Should we go through this process and it comes out positive for you, are you going to operate with honesty, integrity and in the public interest. Following the laws and regulations and standards of cannabis,” MacDonald said.

Mifsud said he would follow all related legal requirements.

“Absolutely, you know, I want to bring this forward as an entrepreneurship idea. And one of the things I’d like to do is dispel the criminal notion of this,” Mifsud said.

However, Coun. Jennifer Adams was concerned that the drug would get into the hands of youth.

“But is there anything else that the township could do to research in terms of limiting that easy access out of the hands of youth for example?” Adams said.

Ballantyne explained that although youth have access to marijuana, legalizing it does lessen the ease of that access.

“Well youth already have easy access to illegal cannabis. So having a regulated and well supervised retail outlets, the research is showing that actually, it lessens youth getting their hands on it,” Ballantyne said.

The committee of the whole did not make a decision or vote on the matter.

Jesse Gault is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.