Issue 'has tested our community': Niverville mayor after residents vote 'yes' on cannabis retailing
WINNIPEG – A prairie community divided over cannabis has voted in favour of allowing a pot shop to open its doors.
On Tuesday, residents of Niverville, Man. voted in a plebiscite which asked, ‘Should licensed retail cannabis stores be allowed in Niverville?’.
Tuesday night, the town announced the official result of the plebiscite was yes.
In a close vote, 863 people opted to allow Canna Cabana, a retailer selected by a provincial process, to set up shop in Niverville. That’s compared to 719 people who voted against allowing cannabis stores in the town.
Community groups in Niverville have been working to drum up support in the lead up to the plebiscite that will decide whether or not Canna Cabana, a retailer selected by a provincial process, can open.
The town council decided to hold the plebiscite in August, the month it initially denied the store the conditional use permits it needed to open.
People living in the community have been split on the issue.
“I do not want a drug store to be coming here to Niverville,” said Judi Funk. “I’m in health care and I see the results of drug use.”
“I know people say that it’s going to bring drugs, it’s going to promote drug use, I don’t agree with that,” said. Scott McCorrister. “In my opinion it’s just another business.”
Residents on both sides of the issue have put up signs around the town, some urging people to “say no to drugs.”
In a statement issued to CTV News Wednesday morning, Niverville Mayor Myron Dyck says the issue of whether to allow cannabis retailing in that community as brought with it some specific benefits.
Dyck says the campaigns by both sides leading up to Tuesday’s plebiscite led residents to educate themselves regarding cannabis use and its effects on the body.
As well, Dyck says he’s heartened by the general tone of the debate in his town.
“This cannabis issue has tested our community and I can say for the most part the two viewpoints have been respectful of one another...citizens may not always agree with their politicians, but there is a way to disagree without being disrespectful,” said Dyck.
Dyck previously told CTV News if the town votes against the plebiscite, Canna Cabana won’t be able to open. If the town votes in favour, it will be able to reapply for its permit.
-With files from CTV's Kayla Rosen and Danton Unger