Cannabis industry can spark Parksville economy

I recently participated in an online survey regarding cannabis regulations, provided by the City of Parksville. I was thankful for the opportunity to give my feedback, as I feel that Parksville has an opportunity to develop this industry, which has great potential for generating sustainable employment, as well as tax dollars for the town.

The cannabis industry is poised to become a significant economic driver, as uses for both medicinal and recreational marijuana become more mainstream and less controversial. It would be a real shame for Parksville to be left behind. This plant, and its derivatives, are significantly less harmful than alcohol, from a sociological perspective, and yet in Parksville we have numerous places to buy booze.

Obviously, the sale and use of marijuana should be regulated, just as alcohol is regulated. My understanding is that Health Canada will be regulating all aspects of this industry, which brings a significant level of safety in terms of how it is cultivated, processed and sold.

There is an immense opportunity for Parksville to galvanize the momentum of the marijuana industry for both social and economic good. The taxes generated by these businesses could contribute to a much-needed recreation centre, where community members, especially youth, could congregate. Or perhaps an affordable housing initiative, which is so desperately needed in this town. Vancouver is currently charging marijuana dispensaries a $30K fee to operate. In Nanaimo, Tilray generated $130k in property taxes in its first year of operation and is the fifth-largest employer in Nanaimo.

Turning our backs on this budding industry would be a grave mistake for Parksville, given the potential socio-economic benefits it represents. I strongly recommend community members make their voices count, and complete the survey, which can be found at the City of Parksville website until March 31.

Jessica Reid

Parksville

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