Pubdate: Tue, 15 Apr 2014
Source: Meaford Independent, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 The Meaford Independent
Author: Stephen Vance
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


A staff report submitted to council on April 14 highlighted a need 
for the municipality to develop policies relating to legal medical 
marijuana growing operations.

In his report to council, Director of Planning and Building, Rob 
Armstrong, said that with the recent federal changes to the growing 
and processing of medical marijuana, the municipality has had 
interest expressed in establishing a facility in Meaford.

"The Municipality of Meaford has received a number of inquiries from 
individuals citing interest in becoming medical marihuana producers 
under the new regulations. The current municipal planning documents 
do not contemplate this specific use nor do they include any specific 
site planning considerations to address potential public health and 
safety concerns which may arise due to proximity of such operations 
to sensitive land uses. Staff recognize however, that interpretation 
of the existing provisions of the by-law could potentially allow for 
such an operation to be established in an Agricultural, Rural, 
Specialty Agricultural, Commercial, Development or Industrial Zone," 
said Armstrong in his report.

"These new regulations aim to treat marijuana similarly to other 
narcotics used for medical purposes by creating conditions for a new 
industry that is responsible for its production and distribution. The 
intention is to provide access to quality-controlled marijuana for 
medical purposes, produced under secure and sanitary conditions, to 
those Canadians who need it while enhancing the safety of our 
communities," wrote Armstrong.

The new regulations implemented by the federal government are 
intended to centralize and better monitor the growing and selling of 
medical marijuana. Under the previous Medical Marijuana Access 
Regulations (MMAR), much of the production of medical marijuana was 
being done by individuals on a personal consumption or small scale 
home industry operation.

This meant that production was often occurring in private dwellings, 
or in outbuildings on residential lots, often with dangerously 
modified electrical wiring, or stolen electricity. The new system 
will see the issuance of production licenses to producers meeting 
Health Canada's stringent quality-control, notification and security 

Those who were growing their own medical marijuana were to have 
discontinued growing, and destroyed any excess stock by April 1 of 
this year, however a federal court injunction has meant that those 
patients can continue to grow their medicine until a final decision 
has been made by the court. A final decision on the challenge to the 
new regulations is expected in the next 9 to 12 months.

Many communities across the country are beginning to implement 
policies to ensure that medical marijuana growing facilities are 
properly placed within the community.

In Smith's Falls Ontario, Canada's first publicly traded medical 
marijuana company has turned a former chocolate factory into a 
growing and processing facility. Similar operations are being 
proposed in several communities, including Meaford.

Councillors seemed supportive of welcoming such a business, however 
they have learned from past experience that a proactive approach can 
save headaches and frustration in the future. Council approved the 
resolution included in Armstrong's report that directs staff to 
conduct a study focused on the land use planning policies applicable 
to Medical Marijuana Grow Operations and, to enact an interim control 
by-law to prohibit the establishment of a Medical Marihuana Grow 
Operation on lands zoned Agricultural, Rural, Specialty Agricultural, 
Commercial, Development, or Industrial by Comprehensive Zoning By-law 
60-2009 in Municipality of Meaford until such time as the study has 
been completed and any resulting implementation measures have been approved.

"Staff are of the opinion that detailed study is required to better 
understand the nature of the Medical Marihuana Grow Operations being 
created under the new regulations and to ensure that our local 
planning documents will facilitate the establishment of only 
appropriately located and developed operations," said Armstrong in his report.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom