Lindsay Chamber supports opting in on cannabis, sees green economy connections

By Lindsay Advocate

Since our very name implies 'green' Kawartha Lakes should embrace cannabis as part of the green economy.

The Lindsay and District Chamber of Commerce has written a letter in full support of the City of Kawartha Lakes opting in to allow private recreational cannabis stories.

The letter — penned by Chamber President Bob Armstrong — was directed to Ron Taylor, Chief Adminstrative Officer of the City of Kawartha Lakes, and is printed in its entirety here:

The Lindsay and District Chamber of Commerce would like to provide this letter in support of the City of Kawartha Lakes opting-in to allow private recreational cannabis retail stores in our municipality. Our organization represents over 330 businesses in Lindsay and the surrounding area.

Opting-in would mean jobs for retailers, rent for landlords, and encourage customers to “shop local.” Well-placed retail locations could service tourists and cottagers that buy their alcohol and food here. In more urban centres like Lindsay, Fenelon and Bobcaygeon we would have the opportunity to make sure the retail locations fit within the historical designation guidelines for storefronts complimenting the rest of our commercial businesses.

The Province will provide a minimum of $10,000 to offset costs of enforcement and other effects of legalization, which would mean extra funding for our police force. It would provide the opportunity for additional funds from the Province for communities that opt-in, if Ontario’s portion of the federal excise duty on recreational cannabis over the first two years of legalization exceeds $100 million, the province would provide 50 per cent of the surplus to municipalities that have opted-in.

This could also be an opportunity to support area farmers to grow new cash crops. Our municipality’s name implies ‘Green.’ Kawartha Lakes: Environment. Nature. We have Fleming College focused on environmental topics. Our biggest business segment is agricultural production. Cannabis and hemp are plant-based businesses. Perhaps Kawartha Lakes could be known as a base for licensed production as well. The Chamber could be an active partner with the City of Kawartha Lakes economic development to research and vet opportunities for producers as well as retail.

The Chamber could partner in the new Green economy that could dovetail with Fleming’s programs and education, private environmental businesses and even develop an entirely new cannabis tourism, i.e. cannabis-friendly cottage rentals where cottagers could safely consume.

In summary the Lindsay and District Chamber of Commerce supports the City of Kawartha Lakes to opt-in as this is good commerce, meaning more jobs, buildings and more infrastructure funding for our community.

(Full disclosure: Advocate Publisher Roderick Benns is on the board of directors for the Lindsay and District Chamber of Commerce.)

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