Zones allow medicinal marijuana

The Regional District of North Okanagan is amending its zoning bylaws to allow for medical marijuana production

Rural communities are trying to set rules for growing marijuana.

The Regional District of North Okanagan is amending its zoning bylaws to allow for medical marijuana production facilities as is being proposed by the federal government.

“We are having to make decisions without having enough information,” said rural Enderby director Jackie Pearase, adding that Ottawa has had no consultation with jurisdictions when it comes to the rules.

If the bylaw changes are adopted, RDNO would  consider medicinal marijuana grow operations to be a permitted use on property within the Agricultural Land Reserve, where a site is zoned for a home occupation use or where the property is  zoned to permit manufacturing uses.

As part of developing land use regulations, RDNO has considered the proximity of marijuana processing plants to schools and residences.

“People don’t want to see grow-ops in their neighbourhood,” said Pearase.

Other issues that will be considered are servicing requirements, noise, traffic, odour and liquid and solid waste.

Spallumcheen has recently stated that marijuana operations should be in the industrial zone instead of agricultural land but rural Lumby director Rick Fairbairn doesn’t share that concern.

“It’s considered an agricultural operation and it’s like any other product under the Right to Farm Act,” said Fairbairn.

“They will have to comply with building and zoning codes.”

When asked about the potential impact of marijuana facilities on adjacent residences, Fairbairn said  “There’s no difference than a broiler (chicken) barn,” referring to noise, odour and esthetics.