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A local rural municipality says it won't be able to meet the provincial government's deadline of December 22nd on the issue of whether to allow the retail sales of marijuana.

The province has given municipal leaders until the end of this week to decide if they intend to allow the operation of cannabis shops in their communities.

"We find it difficult to respond right now," said Don Wiebe, reeve for the Municipality of Rhineland. "We think that December 22nd deadline is rushing the process because we haven't got information in terms of what the implications are for zoning and if conditional uses can be applied. None of those tools are there and we feel it's just a little premature to ask that question."

Wiebe says the province needs to put some kind of framework in place so that municipalities can make an informed decision on marijuana sales.

"We simply believe that the province has to give us a bit more information, some kind of framework so that we can decide if it fits into our municipality."

Rhineland council also has a problem with the proposed model that the Pallister government is presenting.

Based on what he's seen so far, Wiebe said it appears the province is favouring large corporations when it comes to who can sell marijuana in Manitoba.

"We're hearing that it has to be with organizations that have connections across the province more suited to the kind of operations that have a network of outlets. Our council identified that as a concern and feels that should not be limited. We would like a much more expanded definition of who can be in retail sales. If there is to be an economic benefit, we think that should be looked at."

The province is now taking applications from retailers to open one or more stores to sell pot. That process is also open until December 22.

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