The Manitoba government is enabling municipalities to conduct plebiscites to prohibit cannabis retail stores, Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton announced today.
“We have consulted with municipalities throughout this process and some have indicated there may be a desire to prohibit retail cannabis sales within their communities,” said Wharton. “By allowing municipalities to conduct plebiscites as soon as possible, we are providing everyone with a fair say in this process.”
The province will be enacting several provisions for The Safe and Responsible Retailing of Cannabis Act, which will allow for plebiscites prohibiting cannabis retail stores. A plebiscite may be initiated by resolution of the municipal council or initiated by a petition signed by at least 20 per cent of the electors.
If a plebiscite to prohibit the sale of cannabis is held and approved, retail cannabis store licences may not be issued and any licences in effect are cancelled effective six months after the plebiscite.
Municipalities have a unique perspective to offer on the legal and regulatory framework for cannabis use. The Manitoba government wants to make sure municipalities have the tools to implement cannabis-related changes in ways that work best for their community and residents, said Wharton.
The minister noted that in order to make a significant difference in reducing black market sales, the province has set a goal that within two years, 90 per cent of Manitobans should be able to access legal cannabis within a 30-minute drive or less.