On an issue that saw her fellow candidates stake out more nebulous positions on the prospect of retail marijuana sales in Abbotsford, Nadine Snow offered the shortest answer during Tuesday’s all-candidates debate.
Facing the question of whether new rules should permit marijuana sales within the city, Snow offered a one-word response: “Yes.”
Her fellow candidates mostly agreed with Snow’s position, and no one came out to oppose retail pot sales.
Moe Gill said he has a neighbour who has been growing marijuana for years. With the federal government having made recreational marijuana legal, Gill said applications for retail business should be reviewed and would be supported, if they dovetail with Abbotsford’s Official Community Plan.
Eric Nyvall concurred.
“I don’t want any drugs to be sold illegally by the guy on the street corner,” he said. Given that, he said retail pot outlets should be regulated similar to that of liquor stores.
Trevor Eros concurred, acknowledging the demand for pot, and agreeing with Nyvall that sales should be permitted and regulated similarly to the sale of tobacco and alcohol.
Gerda Peachey decried the effects of marijuana, citing her past volunteering at the local women’s prison. She said marijuana was “an entry drug to harder stuff and ultimately broken lives and crime.
“Marijuana is a dreadful thing,” she said, although she added that it does have medicinal uses.
Peachey said “Marijuana should be controlled by all the powers vested in the local government,” and said sales should be controlled as tightly as that of alcohol. Peachey didn’t state clearly tuesday whether the city should ban pot sales locally; On Wednesday she clarified her position, telling The News the city shouldn’t allow pot to be sold in Abbotsford.
The city has instructed staff to develop a framework to regulate pot sales to bring to a future public hearing, after more than 70 per cent of respondents said retail pot should be permitted and regulated in Abbotsford.
Incumbent Mayor Henry Braun said that because the issue was slated to come before council for a public hearing that he, as a current member of council, is supposed to come to such a meeting “with an open mind.” Given that, Braun said he shouldn’t give the impression he has made his mind up. He added that council was facing a “very difficult decision.”
Braun said the issue was likely to come to council very soon after the election.