Community in Transition

The following future scenario highlights one possible future for growing the cannabis industry in Lincoln. In this scenario, the Lincoln’s 'Open for Business Campaign' attracts new cannabis producers. Two new production facilities have opened up, creating a wealth of new job opportunities and attracting talent worldwide to the greater Niagara region. Cannabis producers are facing pushback from the community over odour and light pollution. Community pushback is further amplified when a group of residents take to the streets to protest the closing of cannabis production facilities. In reponse, Lincoln issues an interim control bi-law to slow the production growth of new and existing facilities, mandates the use of filter systems to control ordors and commissions the Brock-Lincoln Living Lab to discover new solutions for light pollution from cannabis production. Meanwhile, Lincoln's first cannabis retail store opens for business and the line-up for CBD products is around the block making provincial news headlines.

Cannabis Industry Ready to Bloom in Lincoln 

Cheryl Patterson is frustrated by the “skunk smell” of cannabis that wafts down from two cannabis cultivation facilities roughly five kilometres away and lingers outside her home, even in the winter. 

“On hot humid days, it’s worse because they have to vent more often… You wouldn’t be able to open your windows,” she said.

The town of Lincoln, Ont., where Patterson lives—an hour away from Toronto, and in the heart of Twenty Valley wine country—has become a hotbed for legal commercial cannabis growers who have snapped up fertile land to build greenhouses and convert them from flowers and vegetables to a more lucrative crop. 

There are now three licensed cannabis production operations in the community of 32,000 people, and one cannabis company that has expressed interest in Lincoln’s Open for Business campaign. While the community is receptive to the jobs the companies bring, mounting complaints about odour and light pollution at night have prompted residents such as Patterson to form a group to keep the industry in check. The group took to the streets last fall to protest the closing of cannabis production facilities in their community.  

In response to the mounting concerns of community members, Lincoln banned any new cannabis cultivation facilities and existing ones are prohibited from expanding for one year, under an interim control bylaw put in place on Sept. 15 last year. 

“As a town we definitely like the jobs… If the cultivation facilities could just meet a little bit more halfway on the emissions, light, and odour” the mayor said. 

“We put these bi-laws in place to make time for the technology to catch up.” 

This tension in Lincoln highlights the ongoing growing pains of the new blooming industry as Canadian cannabis players ramp up production to meet domestic and global demand, while balancing the concerns of the communities where they operate.

With federal legalization in the United States looking ever more likely, communities across the country are scrambling to capture the potential growth legalization south of the border will bring. 

That is why the town of Lincoln is committed to finding solutions that work for both community and cannabis producers. To address the root cause of the community complaints they issue a new municipal law mandating the use of filter systems to control orders and commission the Brock-Lincoln Living Lab to research solutions to cannabis light pollution. 

In concert with cannabis growers, they are working on a new outreach program designed to educate and increase public awareness of both the risks and benefits of cannabis production, and multi-use consumption from medical to recreational. 

This is just one of the many steps they are taking to build better relations with cannabis producers, so that they may foster a stronger sense of community stewardship among some of the industry’s leading entrepreneurs. 

In other news, Lincoln’s first pot shop, ‘High Demand’ is open for business. Approximately 50 people were lined up outside at 9 a.m. on Friday morning, with more arriving soon after, when staff cut the ribbon on its brand-new downtown store. The store is now one of 100 legal cannabis retailers that have opened across the province. 

High Demand sells recreational cannabis and a variety of CBD products with uses cases extending beyond the recreational concentrate market.  

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is the main non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana and hemp. It does not interact with the body the same way as THC and cannot get you high. 

At the same time, CBD has many of the plant’s most significant medical and medicinal benefits. CBD can reduce seizures in epilepsy patients and a growing body of research finds it useful for reducing pain, acne, anxiety, inflammation and more.

Additionally, CBD has been found to be a significant preventative measure against neurodegenerative diseases (think: Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease) and arthritis.

Lincoln has ‘high expectations’ for both its cannabis producers and retailers in driving new economic growth and prosperity to the town of Lincoln and is proactive in addressing community concerns creating a win-win solution for all those involved and impacted.