One other linchpin of a hashish enterprise is disappointment in the local people

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Cannabis companies that go out of business can have a significant impact on communities that were expecting jobs

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Emma Spears

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January 30, 2020 • • March 6, 2020 • • Read for 2 minutes FILE: Altona, Manitoba is hosting the China Women's National Hockey Team for the time leading up to the IIHF Women's Ice Hockey World Championship.  Photographed on Wednesday March 28, 2007. FILE: Altona, Manitoba is hosting the China Women’s National Hockey Team for the time leading up to the IIHF Women’s Ice Hockey World Championship. Photographed on Wednesday March 28, 2007. Photo by SunMedia

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Alberta-based cannabis retailer Westleaf was preparing to open a licensed pharmacy in Altona, Man., But it appears those plans have changed.

Although the southern city of Manitoba was selected by the provincial government as the prime location for a cannabis retail store, Westleaf encountered fierce opposition from some residents, who even petitioned against operating a pot shop in the community.

The petition received 800 signatures, well above the 620 signature threshold required to trigger a referendum (also known as a direct vote from members of an electoral base on an issue of public interest). Such a vote is necessary to block cannabis retail in the city.

Westleaf has claimed the controversy did not play a role in the decision to withdraw.

“Westleaf considered many factors in building its retail presence in the marketplace,” said Adam Coates, the company’s chief commercial officer, in a statement to CTV. “Due to the more comprehensive business strategy, the company has decided to push ahead with opening a store in Altona.”

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FILE: Prairie Records opened its doors in Warman, Sask., But it wasn't about selling music.  It is the first of 23 stores Westleaf Cannabis Inc. plans to launch nationwide this year.  / Photo: Westleaf Cannabis Inc. FILE: Prairie Records opened its doors in Warman, Sask., But it wasn’t about selling music. It is the first of 23 stores Westleaf Cannabis Inc. plans to launch nationwide this year. / Photo: Westleaf Cannabis Inc. Photo by Westleaf Cannabis Inc.

But Altona isn’t the only area that has seen a sudden U-turn in a weeding company recently.

A cultivation facility in Chatham, Ontario may close before it is officially operational. This possibility is believed to be at least partially associated with a debt of $ 21.2 million to the Auxly Cannabis Group for construction and other costs.

A court ordered Curative Cannabis to divest its assets and interests in Auxly after the previous company defaulted on payments in the summer of 2019, and the facility’s future is now in doubt.

Chatham faced a similar situation last year with AgMedica BioScience Inc., which employs 160 local residents.

Despite resistance from some local residents, cannabis companies that cease operations – especially in small towns – can have a significant impact on communities that were expected to create jobs, boost the local economy, and potentially improve property value, as it did Smith Falls.

FILE: Canopy Growth Corp.  at Smith's Falls Wednesday October 16, 2019. Hummingbird chocolate owners Erica and Drew Gilmour pose with a product on Wednesday.  / Photo: Tony Caldwell FILE: Canopy Growth Corp. at Smith’s Falls Wednesday October 16, 2019. Hummingbird chocolate owners Erica and Drew Gilmour pose with a product on Wednesday. / Photo: Tony Caldwell Photo by Tony Caldwell /.Postmedia

Fighting LP giant Aurora Cannabis has also disappointed communities in Exeter, Ontario and Medicine Hat, Alta by putting the Ontario greenhouse up for sale and stopping construction of the Alberta manufacturing facility.

Medicine Hat’s facility was expected to create around 650 jobs in the community, where job losses and unemployment have risen and city revenues have fallen thanks to lower oil and gas prices.

“Imagine if someone came into downtown Calgary and said, ‘I’m hiring 20,000 people. “That’s how important Aurora is to Medicine Hat,” Mayor Ted Clugston told Postmedia in December. “I had full confidence in her beforehand. It was shaken a bit. “

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