- QNetNews.ca - http://www.qnetnews.ca -

Future of marijuana sales in Belleville to be decided soon

By Tahreem Fatima [1]

BELLEVILLE – Results are expected soon from a survey of Belleville residents about whether they think shops selling marijuana should be allowed in the city.

The survey was posted on the city’s website [2] last month. The deadline to complete it was last Friday so that city council can consider the matter prior to the Jan. 22 provincial deadline for opting in or out of the Ontario program of establishing cannabis retail outlets.

The provincial government is offering some financial support [3] to municipalities who opt into the program, and none for those who opt out.

According to the agenda [4],  at the council meeting this coming Monday, the survey results will be released and the discussion to opt in or out of the program will be made.

In addition to being posted online, paper copies of the survey were available to be picked up at City Hall.

Sarah Tummon-Button, the executive assistant to Mayor Mitch Panciuk, told QNet News in an interview Thursday that 2,200 people completed the survey.

“It a pretty good turnout, I think,” she said.

The age group that responded most was 25 to 35 years old, Tummon-Button said.

Residents have shown a lot of interest in the issue, she said.

Not everyone is in favour of the idea of allowing cannabis sales. In an opinion piece [5] published on the InQuinte website, resident Paul Bell, who ran unsuccessfully for council in the recent municipal election, says, “Municipalities will be impacted by the imposition of ambiguous pot-impaired driving laws, increased health-care issues and related social and economic costs.”

He also suggests that pot stores can increase violent gang activities in the area.

Kingston and Prince Edward County are among the other area municipalities that have held surveys asking residents’ opinion on marijuana sales.