Altona residents vote in favour of allowing cannabis stores – CBC.ca

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Residents of Altona have voted “yes” to allowing cannabis stores within the town, after nearly a year of debate within the community. 

Of 1,155 voters, 692 — or 60 per cent — voted “yes” to the question: “Should licensed retail cannabis stores be allowed in Altona?”

The plebiscite came nearly a year after a group of citizens petitioned to keep a cannabis store, which had already been approved by the town’s council, from opening.

At the time, their main concerns were around safety and that the drug could become a negative influence in the town.

The vote was supposed to take place in the spring, but was delayed due to COVID-19. 

Altona Mayor Al Friesen said he felt the results affirmed the town council’s earlier decision to allow the store, as it’s a legal business that would create jobs in the community. 

“We just felt that the community, when we presented the facts in front of them at a number of events that we did, that they agreed with us,” he said. 

The town organized a virtual town hall event last month about what a cannabis retailer would look like in Altona and to allow people to ask questions. Friesen said about 120 people took part.

Alberta-based Westleaf Inc. was initially expected to set up shop in Altona but the company bailed. Friesen previously said the decision was made for reasons other than the petition.

Friesen said he’s not sure whether a retailer will open up shop in Altona in the near future, but now, there is an opportunity for one to do so.

This article originally appeared here in https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/altona-cannabis-store-plebiscite-1.5764639

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