Spallumcheen’s council meeting Monday was a good indication that senior government has bungled the issue of growing medicinal marijuana.
Ottawa has decided to shift production from residential settings to larger facilities, but there has been absolutely no consultation with communities about their concerns regarding land use, security and servicing such sites.
“They haven’t given us any confidence they will address the concerns of our community,” said Greg Betts, Spallumcheen’s chief administrative officer.
Spallumcheen officials made it clear Monday that they want production only on industrial zoned land as there is a reduced chance of creating conflicts for residential properties However, there is a very real chance that the township’s interests may be shot down as Ottawa may find the industrial zone too restrictive.
On top of this, the provincial Agricultural Land Commission has declared that growing medicinal marijuana is an appropriate activity in the Agricultural Land Reserve. Once again, the township’s industrial zone-only edict could be overruled.
There is so much uncertainty among local jurisdictions about the implications from large-scale marijuana grow-ops but they are forced to take action because the federal government’s new rules come into place in April.
“I’m concerned about getting something on the books,” said Betts.
With so many questions arising from city halls and regional districts, the federal and provincial governments need to back off their plans and clarify the rules.
And this time around, civic leaders need a seat at the table.