Pubdate: Thu, 19 Jun 2014
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Lee Prokaska


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.