Pubdate: Thu, 19 Jun 2014 Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON) Copyright: 2014 The Hamilton Spectator Contact: http://www.thespec.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/181 Author: Lee Prokaska SMART TO REZONE FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA It's smart to clear the way for medical marijuana growers to help the city redevelop brownfield industrial sites. Hamilton has sites, the city is well located for transport, and the tax revenue would be welcome. The planning committee wants to move forward with zoning changes covering where medical marijuana can be grown. The issue goes to council next week. As it stands, commercial growing - of anything - is permitted only in agricultural zones. The changes would allow growers to take over former industrial facilities, which tend to be concentrated in the lower city. As of April 1, medical marijuana users must purchase their supplies from indoor commercial operations licensed by Health Canada. The federal government specifies, though, that growers must comply with municipal zoning bylaws. Hamilton is not the only city interested in attracting this industry. Medical marijuana is a $1.3-billion industry. The city has received letters of interest from potential investors, five of which are looking for urban locations. If they can't find the right spot in Hamilton because of restrictive zoning, they will go somewhere else. That's lost tax revenue for Hamilton and that simply isn't very smart.