Town supports petition to allow service of cannabis-infused edibles, beverages

Cannabis in Resturants
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Posted on: November 16, 2021

The council of the town of Smiths Falls received a virtual delegation during the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday evening, regarding the public consumption of cannabis-infused drinks and food. This delegation consisted of Sean Webster, Head of Canopy Growth, Chris Bloore, president of the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO), and Michael Wilson from Goodmans LLP. They have requested that the Smiths Falls town council send a resolution of support to pertinent government ministers, requesting that eat-in businesses which serve alcohol also be allowed to serve cannabis-infused food and beverages. This would not include the consumption of cannabis by smoking or vaping.

Webster pointed out that there is a lack of options where people are able to consume cannabis-infused food and drinks with their friends. People are allowed to consume them at home or in a public place, but not in a restaurant or bar.  His request is that the government would provide for these products to be consumed in a location where the serving of these beverages can be regulated / prohibited from consumption by minors. 

“This is a significant market,” he explained. Deloitte estimates the sale of cannabis edibles in Canada would be worth $1.6 billion per year, and with the addition of cannabis-infused beverages, an additional $529 million per year. Allowing restaurants and bars to serve these restricted products would continue to sustain cannabis producers across Ontario, safeguard cannabis consumers, and enhance economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Bloore noted that tourism in Ontario has a greater financial impact than forestry, mining, and agriculture combined. Tourism, however, has been very hard hit by the restrictions and closures due to Covid-19. 

“As you can imagine, we’ve had a pretty horrific past 20 months. We’ve lost over 100 000 tourism and hospitality jobs in Ontario.” He pointed out that Canna Tourism offers expanded opportunities for both entrepreneurs and long-time employers in the industry.

Adding an innovative product and service into the industry will go a long way toward restoring lost funds and jobs.

Wilson shared that there are other places in the world that allow the serving of cannabis-infused food and drinks, but none yet in Canada. “You’d be the first in Canada, the first municipality to get the government to say ‘yes, you can do this on a trial basis.’”

Webster is hopeful that Smiths Falls has a voice in the government for the Cannabis industry.
“Hopefully the province will take heed; maybe Smiths Falls will be considered for a potential pilot program,” he said.

Mayor Pankow responded that this is something the town has been strongly supportive of;
“We’d love to see this happen.”

Councillor Jay Brennan pointed out that this resolution is a good fit for this town and province. “It’s a natural evolution, it’s a no-brainer. To be the first in Canada would be a real feather in our cap. I fully support a resolution to help you out.”

Councillor McKenna was also eager to support this resolution. “I am particularly concerned about the tourism industry; I recognize the impact that Covid has had on you. I think there couldn’t be a better time to bring this forward and see if we can help our tourism industry out.”

Council supported this resolution and will send a letter of support to the Premier, Minister of Finance, Attorney General, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, the Leader of the Official Opposition and the Leader of the Liberal Party of Ontario.

Article by Janelle Labelle

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News