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City OKs storefront pot sales

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

The City Hall of Portage la Prairie.  (FILE PHOTO)

The City Hall of Portage la Prairie. (FILE PHOTO)

The city of Portage la Prairie will allow the retail of marijuana when the federal government legalizes the herb in July.

With the December 22 deadline looming for communities to inform the province on its pot stance, Portage city council announced during the question period of Monday night's committee meeting that it will permit the sale of the product. The sale of pot in communities that are refusing local retail will be limited to online.

"The city of Portage has taken the position that it will allow cannabis sales when it's legal," says Mayor Irvine Ferris. "Through the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) we have been lobbying the province that cities need a share of that (tax revenue) obviously for things like enforcement and social costs."

The December 22 deadline is also the date retailers must submit their applications to the province. Unfortunately for the prospective mom and pop pot shops, all indications suggest larger sized businesses will have first dibs at mellowing the masses. 

"What we have heard from the province is that it is probably going to be larger businesses. Right now they are looking for businesses that can do multiple locations," explains Ferris. "(We have) heard there is interest locally however that process goes through the province. The province selects who the retailers are going to be."

It was also announced Monday that provinces will get a 75 per cent cut of pot tax revenues while the feds get a 25 per cent take - a significant increase from their original offer of 50/50. There is still no word on the municipal share of revenues, however discussions between the province and the AMM remain ongoing.

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