Editorial: Mike Anderson
It’s safe to say that Georgina has turned its back on the new cannabis economy – along with the jobs and tax revenue it generates.
In January, Council decided to opt out of allowing cannabis stores in the municipality. Ignoring the results of its own survey, which showed more than 70 per cent of respondents were in favour of pot shops.
Council also passed a temporary ban on any agri-business that grows cannabis, citing issues like light pollution and foul odors that might upset residents.
This has effectively stopped any cannabis agri-businesses from setting up shop in Georgina.
To see what Georgina is missing out on just look a few miles north of Bancroft, where a state-of-the art cannabis production facility is being built.
There was no hesitation on the part of Hastings Highland’s Mayor Vic A. Bondar, who jumped at the chance to partner with AeroPonLeaf Canada, the company building the facility on the site of an abandoned particle board plant closed in 2003.
“The economic boost to our community will have far reaching benefits,” Mr. Bondar proudly proclaims on his Facebook page. “We anticipate that the added revenue from associated industries in the area and employment opportunities for residents will be extraordinary.”
In contrast, when asked by The Post if council could repeal the Town’s anti-cannabis by-laws, Mayor Quirk took the opportunity to double-down on her position. She says council will stay the course. “There are still too many unknowns,” she said.
Well, let’s look at some knowns. Specifically, from that hippy-dippy, weed loving organization we all know as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
The OCC has recently published a report entitled “Supporting Ontario’s Budding Cannabis Industry,” bad puns aside, it’s a document everyone should read.
For instance, did you know that 10,400 jobs were created by Canada’s cannabis industry in 2018, and that the majority of those jobs, about 5,700, were in Ontario?
Did you also know, that Canada’s cannabis market is expected to generate $7.2 billion in revenues by the end of 2019, and that $1.3 billion could be raised in federal and provincial taxes?
So, there are a few knowns. Perhaps it’s time for council to take another tack, as the wind is changing and it smells of weed.