Community members met Monday night to discuss the proposed cannabis ban that their local government will be discussing during Tofino’s regular council meeting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

Community members met Monday night to discuss the proposed cannabis ban that their local government will be discussing during Tofino’s regular council meeting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

Tofino local hosts town hall event to discuss proposed cannabis ban

“There’s a huge market out there that we’re going to miss out on.”

About 20 Tofitians gathered at the Tin Wis Best Western Resort Monday night to discuss their local government’s proposed cannabis ban.

David Ward organized the event and told the Westerly News he would be presenting what he heard to Tofino’s municipal council during their Tuesday morning meeting where they are expected to make a final decision on whether to move forward with their proposed ban.

“I just want to make sure our voice as the cannabis community here in Tofino is heard because I don’t see any cannabis users on the city council,” he said. “I want to get the community’s feedback and then I want to present it to them in a positive way.”

The ban council is considering would temporarily restrict the sale, production and distribution of cannabis within town after legalization occurs this summer.

Ward, who has lived in Tofino for seven years and said he has roughly 20 years of experience in the medical marijuana industry, blamed “fear and a lack of education,” for the ban being proposed and said cannabis businesses should be embraced.

“I’m trying to get rid of stigma. Cannabis users aren’t bad people and there’s no reason we shouldn’t have a safe, good, clean place for us to consume and purchase and just have it welcomed in our community,” he said.

He said council might want to wait to see how other municipalities handle legalization before making a decision themselves, but suggested that would be the wrong approach to take.

“They don’t want to be the test of it. They want to watch what other people do and then react. Whereas, I think, we have the right community to actually become leaders in this and actually show the rest of the country what a positive, proactive, cannabis community looks like,” he said. “There’s a huge market out there that we’re going to miss out on.”

He added the ban could hurt Tofino’s reputation as a proactive community and relaxing place to visit.

“I think that by putting this bylaw forth, it shows the opposite of that and I think it will deter people from coming here,” he said.