Entrepreneur hopes Clearview will survey public, opt-in on cannabis retail
A young entrepreneur is asking to revisit the conversation about allowing cannabis retail in Clearview Township with the hopes that council will vote to opt in, allowing him to open a store in Stayner.
Chase Quanbury said he has already gone through the process of securing a licence to open a cannabis store, he just hopes to do so in his hometown. The only thing standing in his way is permission from council.
Back in 2019, Clearview chose to opt out of recreational cannabis retail, an option offered by the province. The general consensus was that recreational cannabis would eventually be sold in retail stores across the province, including municipalities like Clearview, but in the early days and with so much uncertainty about how the newly legalized substance would roll out, council and staff agreed that Clearview should opt out at the time and see what happens.
The late councillor Ed Christie, a prominent member of the business community in Collingwood, was the only council member to support recreational cannabis retail in the municipality saying businesses had every right to attempt to get into the legal market.
At 21, Quanbury said he wants to get into this new industry, where there is money to be made, but is also intrigued by the customer service aspect of cannabis retail and thinks it would be good for the community.
“There are a lot of people who are coming to these stores for advice, who don’t want to go to drug dealers, who don’t want to grow their own,” said Quanbury. “I believe I can be somebody in the community who is local, friendly and hopefully has a business that is around for a long time.”
At this stage, Quanbury said he is canvassing the business community and presenting to the Economic Development Advisory Committee on August 3 hoping for support for a public survey, to gauge the overall community’s opinion on opting in.
His arguments for revisiting the topic include limiting the black market and reducing access to those under age; supporting the shop local initiative by offering services that are offered in Collingwood and Wasaga Beach; and there is now a retail track record that can be examined to demonstrate that the stores are highly regulated and follow a standard set out by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
“I’ve spoken to people in the community and I’ve got a lot of support so far and I just want to do what’s right by the community,” said Quanbury. “If the survey was done I would be very confident that council would see the support and then in turn reverse their vote.”
He said from an economic development standpoint, he has been hearing support from the business community, especially when they find out that Clearview is among the 15 per cent of communities that have opted out.
“People want safe access to cannabis that isn’t sprayed with fertilizer, and you don’t have to go to some sketchy place to get it,” said Quanbury. “I want to know how the community feels and I’ll be very disappointed if council doesn’t agree to do a survey.”