Pubdate: Wed, 24 Jul 2013
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2013 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: David Reevely
Page: C1


Growers can't use private homes or sell directly to the public

OTTAWA - With new federal rules in effect allowing private grow-ops
for medical marijuana, the City of Ottawa is planning zoning changes
to spell out just where they can be. It's even inviting public
comments on its plans - though it's not saying yet what it has in mind.

According to a notice the city posted Tuesday morning, the idea is to
spell out in what zones the city will allow grow-ops and to determine
whether the city's zoning code needs any new rules or specifications
that treat marijuana grow-ops differently from any other legal business.

"The City's role is to mitigate possible adverse impacts on citizens
and the community and to treat these facilities as any new legal
venture looking to set up a business in Ottawa," the notice says.

"We're in listening mode," explained a manager in the city's planning
department, Alain Miguelez. "There is nothing yet that we want to
present. ... We don't want to prejudge this."

Part of the point is to find out whether Ottawa has people who want to
open legal grow-ops and where, he said. That'll help the planners
decide where to focus their attention.

The posting adds that the federal regulations, released by Health
Canada last month, don't allow grow-ops in private homes and don't
allow over-the-counter retail sales. Marijuana will have to be shipped
directly to from licensed producers to licensed users.

"This not being Amsterdam, it's not going to be on traditional main
streets, retail type of thing," Miguelez said.

Health Canada's rules also require ventilation and air filters, plus
extensive security measures such as strong walls and cameras and
procedural things like formal logging of attempts to break in, which
means that the regulations don't expect farmers to plant cannabis
fields: typically buildings like those are in industrial districts,
though the city's posting doesn't specifically say that that's where
they'll have to be in Ottawa. It's conceivable they might be in
agricultural zones, Miguelez said, and if would-be operators have
other ideas about locations those would at least be considered.

"These are basically greenhouse operations at an industrial scale. So
you have to imagine what a building like that and the associated
trappings would be like and the effect it would have," he said.

The two council committees expected to approve the zoning rules -
planning and rural-affairs - are to consider them in early October.
The city's asking for public input to help formulate the draft rules
by Aug. 16, by email to city planner Kersten Nitsche  ---
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