Pubdate: Thu, 20 Feb 2014
Source: Almaguin News (CN ON)
Copyright: Almaguin News 2014
Author: Mary Beth Hartill


MAGNETAWAN - The Municipality of Magnetawan may be the first in the
area to welcome a medical marijuana grow operation.

According to a letter by Craig Ferchat, president of Harena Maris
Health Products Inc., the company has submitted applications with
Health Canada to become a licensed producer under the Marihuana for
Medical Purposes Regulations.

"One application is for a pre-existing building, the second is for a
building that will be constructed upon acceptance of our application
by Health Canada," writes Ferchat.

The proposed activities at the North Horn Lake Road site includes
production of dried marijuana, including but not limited to
germination, propagation, growing, harvesting and drying; packaging
and storage for sale of the dried product; transportation and
distribution of dried marijuana; and sale of dried marijuana to
authorized persons under the regulations.

The applications are awaiting federal approval.

Council received letters from planner Jim Dyment of MHBC and Edward
Veldboom or Russell, Christie, LLP Barrister and Solicitors.

Ecomomic development officer John Santarossa summed up the two letters
stating that both indicated that the proposed use meets with the
zoning ordinance and that Herina Maris Health Products Inc. now await
Health Canada's approval, which they expect in March or April of this

"Despite the legal issues, in our opinion growing marijuana is no
different than any other agricultural product from a land use
perspective," wrote Dyment in a Jan. 21 memorandum. "The definition of
farm in the bylaw has a very broad range of uses but uses the term
'agricultural' in general terms and then goes on to define uses which
may be included. The fact that marijuana growing is not listed as a
use in a definition of farm does not preclude the use from being
considered as a farm use. The use is growing a crop for sale."

Dyment later notes that within the rural zone, the municipality's
zoning bylaw does permit the growing and selling of marijuana.

"This being the case, the sale of eatable products containing
marijuana should be treated in the same manner as baked goods such as
pies available at any other agricultural operation," he writes.

However, Dyment also notes that if the marijuana were to be processed
on site it is his opinion that it would become an industrial use, only
permitted under an industrial (M1) zone.

Veldbloom writes that, although there is mention of the need for a
medical marijuana production facility's owner/operator to comply with
local municipal bylaws and regulations in Health Canada Publications,
they could find no direct reference to these requirements in the

"In the absence of clear and express requirements (in the regulations)
requiring compliance with zoning, where an activity is subject to
exclusive federal jurisdiction there can be questions as to whether a
municipality has any authority to regulation that activity (through
zoning or otherwise)," said Veldboom.

Veldboom writes that in many cases the issue can only be resolved
through the application of established legal doctrines concerning dual
compliance and conflict, stating that the analysis can become
complicated and, in many cases, require judicial intervention.

"In this case it would appear that the issue of the municipality's
authority (i.e. the applicability of its zoning) is moot based on the
memorandum provided by Mr. Dyment. He has indicated that the
cultivation of marihuana and its production for sale would be
permitted under the current zoning that applies to the subject
property (as an agricultural use in the rural zone," wrote Veldboom.

Regardless of the zoning, members of council to not appear opposed to
the prospect of a medical marijuana facility in the

"This would be a very good thing," said Coun. Barry Mutton. "The
family behind this are long-time part-time residents at least. I know
them quite well and they are very interested in supporting this
community or this area they always have so I'm very excited to see
them applying invest in the community."

Council Bryan Hampson cited the former Hershey factory in Smith Falls
now converted to a medical marijuana grow.

"It's now a marijuana grow =C2=85 big big big plant=C2=85 that really put
 a lot
of people out of work when that chocolate bar factory closed," he said.

Mayor Sam Dunnett agreed, stating that medical marijuana is a new
employment opportunity in Canada.
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