BREAKING: Brampton Councillors Opt In Having Cannabis Stores

 

After months of debate and deliberations between elected politicians, members of the public, and obviously those with a vested interest, Brampton City Council has opted into having cannabis stores in the city.

In a vote of 8 to 3 during tonight’s special council meeting, councillors voted on a specific motion from Wards 1 and 5 Coun. Rowena Santos to opt in and conduct a number of advocacy measures.

Voting in favour of opting in were Santos and councillors Paul Vicente, Doug Whillans, Michael Palleschi, Jeff Bowman, Mayor Patrick Brown, Martin Medeiros and Pat Fortini.

Voting to opt out were Wards 7 & 8 Coun. Charmaine Williams and Wards 9 and 10 Councillors Gurpreet Dhillon and Harkirat Singh.

A second motion for the advocacy portion, such as restricting locations and keeping revenue from cannabis sales in Brampton, was passed unanimously.

Citing the Ford government’s decisions on cancelling the university and even cutting Toronto’s council in half, Dhillon said why would we allow the province to impose a decision over which Brampton had little to no control over. “Let’s not sell our souls over this, get some more information first,” the councillor said.

Williams, whom last week had a makeshift ‘wall’ of bricks in her office advocating for a ‘political wall’ around the GTA to keep cannabis stores out, said “let’s not turn Flower City into Weed City’, saying she had been working on the issue for the past six months, saying there would be an ‘invasion’ of cannabis stores. 


But councillors who favoured opting in disputed an ‘invasion’, saying fear and emotional reactions should not be the basis of the final decision. “We can’t base this decision on a game of Simon Says”, said Santos. As a father, Palleschi said that he didn’t believe one store would entice kids to do drugs. “If a store can put even a dent in the black market, then I’m for it”. 

Mayor Patrick Brown reminded everyone in the council chamber, seemingly more than once, that the debate was not over legalization of cannabis, but it was over whether Brampton should have a cannabis store. “The reality is cannabis is already here in Brampton, whether you’re buying it online or getting in through the black market,” he said.

The mayor also said partial police funding to enforce cannabis laws like impaired driving was better than no funding at all. “If there’s some idiot out there driving high, I want to have the resources available to make an example of that person.” 

The special council meeting had a widely unique cast of deputations, ranging from a young lady who invoked Jesus Christ by praying for councillors to have wise judgement, a man named Jotvinder Sodhi who compared kids using cannabis somehow to residential schools, religious leaders and two people who spoke deeply about how cannabis had personally helped them heal from various aliments.

Brampton had until Tuesday, January 22, to decide whether to opt in or out. Now that they’ve had, Canada’s ninth largest city joins Burlington, Toronto, Ajax and Oshawa as major cities in the GTA to have allowed cannabis stores within their borders.

The earliest that a brick and mortar retail cannabis store can open in Ontario is April 1.

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