Pubdate: Fri, 28 Feb 2014
Source: Delta Optimist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2014 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc
Author: Sandor Gyarmati


Civic Legislation Prohibits Growing or Selling of Medical Marijuana

Delta council has approved a bylaw amendment prohibiting the 
production, storage, research or sale of medical marijuana anywhere 
in the municipality. Civic politicians unanimously agreed to grant 
third reading to the bylaw Tuesday following a public hearing at 
municipal hall.

"The new methods of producing medical marijuana are coming, there is 
no question about that," said Coun. Bruce McDonald. "What Delta's 
intention here is to create a situation where the community has some 
control of the things that are happening within our community." 
Tougher new federal rules that take effect April 1 will dramatically 
change how medical marijuana is grown and distributed. The 
regulations are aimed at permitting larger-scale operations over 
smaller, home-based ones.

Big dollars are at stake for those entrepreneurs fortunate enough to 
get federal and municipal approvals. According to Health Canada, the 
number of licensed medical marijuana consumers will rise to more than 
300,000 in the next decade, a 10-fold increase from today.

Mayor Lois Jackson said the large number of home-based medical 
marijuana grow-ops have caused many problems, so the move toward 
larger, more controlled and supervised facilities is a good one. 
However, they aren't an appropriate use on farmland, she said.

"I find it very interesting that Vancouver said that marijuana should 
be grown on agricultural land. That was funny because they don't have 
any agricultural at all."

Only a few people spoke at Tuesday's public hearing.

Noting the federal government has over 400 applications to open 
growing facilities, but only a handful will ever get approved in 
B.C., Rick Brar applauded Delta's move, saying the municipality has 
the right to protect its agricultural land base.

Pointing to the tremendous benefits medicinal marijuana provides for 
patients, Ralph Howey was opposed, wondering why the municipality is 
getting involved.

Deputy planning director Marcy Sangret said anyone wishing to grow 
medical marijuana would still have the right to apply for a rezoning 
for a site-specific operation. Council would consider those 
applications on a case-by-case basis.

According to Delta's planning department, only one large production 
facility has set up shop in an industrial zone, but its federal 
licence expires March 31, so it must go through the new Delta 
rezoning and business licence approval process.

If any others were to be approved, the preference would be to have 
them locate in industrial zones as well.

Spencer Sangarah spoke in favour of the legislation, but asked if 
Delta would seriously consider allowing medical marijuana growing 
operations. He told the Optimist after his presentation he has been 
investigating establishing such a facility in a large, family-owned 
mill building in an industrial zone, saying the site seems ideal and 
would fit the new criteria. However, he's concerned about making any 
major investments at this point.

He added he's interested, like many others, in the business because 
it's been tough times for the mill.

Otto Folprecht, CEO of the company that has been operating for a year 
in Delta, said he still needs to work out what Delta is looking for 
in order to get a business licence under the new rules. He was 
reluctant to provide the name or location of his company, only that 
it supplies the Med Pot Now Society, a Vancouver based dispensary.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom