Altona, Man., votes ‘yes’ on allowing pot shops within town limits

Pot users in Altona, Man., could be lighting up with merchandise from a local store in the near future after residents voted in favour of allowing licensed cannabis stores within town limits on Wednesday.

More than 1,500 voters cast their ballots in the southern Manitoba town, with 692 voting ‘yes’ on the question via advance polls, mail-in ballots and mobile polling stations.

The plebiscite, which was originally scheduled for May, following a petition from the community, was pushed back due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Altona Mayor Al Friesen said the community did the work to weigh the pros and cons, with more than 800 people watching a “conversation on cannabis” livestream to help inform their decision.

Read more: Altona, Man., to hold plebiscite on whether or not to allow pot sales

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Altona mayor Al Friesen.
Altona mayor Al Friesen. Town of Altona

“Town council is encouraged by the response of Altona residents,” Friesen said in a statement.

“We had supported the original decision to not oppose the establishment of a retail cannabis operation for what we felt were valid reasons of growth, progress and safety for residents of all ages, and feel validated that the community agreed with our goal of moving forward.”

Altona isn’t the only Manitoba community that has taken the question of local pot shops to the voters, despite cannabis’s legal status across Canada.

In November of last year, Niverville held a similar plebiscite, with similar results.

Now that Altona’s vote is complete, the next step is to find a retailer to open up shop in the community, which is located near the U.S. border.

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According to a statement from the town, the original cannabis retailer it had been in talks with backed out, so Altona is now getting in touch with another company.

Click to play video 'Manitoba considering allowing restaurants, spas to sell pot products' Manitoba considering allowing restaurants, spas to sell pot products

Manitoba considering allowing restaurants, spas to sell pot products

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