A majority of Muskoka Lakes residents appear to be on board with local cannabis sales.
The results from a recent cannabis survey released by the township found nearly 70 per cent of residents would approve local sales and would like to see a marijuana production plant open locally. About 27 per cent of the survey respondents were against these local marijuana options.
Residents also suggested they were more likely to buy marijuana locally instead of ordering online through the Ontario Cannabis Store.
Many residents felt the local sale and production of marijuana would lead to more year-round jobs, bring more money into the community from both locals and tourists and overall boost the economy in Muskoka Lakes. But, some suggested if the township opts into allowing local sales, it should also put a cap on the number of marijuana stores allowed.
Residents who were against the option of local sales were concerned these types of stores would give some tourists a negative view of Muskoka Lakes and also attract the ‘wrong kind’ of tourist traffic. There were also concerns local sales would make the product more easily available to underage users and lead to more drug-impaired driving and boating incidents in the township.
Some residents suggested the township should opt out, for now, to give officials more time to make an educated decision on the matter.
The Ford Government is allowing all Ontario municipalities an opportunity to opt in or opt out of local marijuana sales. Municipalities allowing sales will be given a share of taxes collected from marijuana sales, but will not be able to opt out at all. If a municipality chooses to ban sales it can change that decision later. All municipalities have until January 22nd to make the decision.
The results of this survey will be reviewed during the first committee of the whole meeting for the new term of council next Thursday.
Just over 600 residents took the survey, ranging in age from 19 to over 65.
You can find a copy of the survey results here, and a downloadable version of comments made on the survey here.