EDITORIAL: New pot rules need debate

It’s obvious the federal government isn’t worried about communication.

It’s obvious the federal government isn’t worried about communication.

It was in June that Health Canada announced new policies regarding medicinal marijuana and that plants would no longer be grown in residential settings. Instead, industrialization of the process will take place.

However, local authorities such as the Regional District of North Okanagan still don’t know what implications the new policy will have on them and their responsibilities for land use and ensuring buildings meet code.

“A lot of people are scratching their heads about this,” said Rob Smailes, RDNO’s general manager of planning and building.

And during a conference call with other local and provincial jurisdictions Thursday, it was clear that RDNO isn’t the only one unsure of its role.

The concerns are valid as these large-scale operations have the potential to be unlike anything local authorities have had to approve before. It’s anticipated they will be concrete or brick to ensure security and will  follow different designs than a barn. For areas outside of the Agricultural Land Reserve, communities will have to determine if industrial zoning is in place. Many issues that have arisen with residential marijuana-grow sites will continue as well, including odour from chemicals and the potential fire risk such materials can create.

With 2014 just around the corner and Ottawa bent on implementing its new rules, now is the time for the federal government to sit down with local authorities and discuss what its expectations are.

After all, it will be local communities dealing with any fallout.

—The Morning Star