Pubdate: Fri, 09 May 2014
Source: Meaford Independent, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 The Meaford Independent
Author: Stephen Vance


At their April 28 meeting, Meaford councillors gave final approval to 
a resolution directing staff to undertake a study regarding land use 
planning policies for medical marijuana production facilities within 
the municipality -- an action that necessitates an interim control 
bylaw that would temporarily prohibit the establishment of a medical 
marijuana production facility until the study is complete.

It was clear that council wants the study to be completed as quickly 
as possible.

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, with Director of Planning Rob Armstrong 
telling council that his office has already received inquiries from 
companies seeking to establish a production facility under Canada's 
recently revised medical marijuana growing policies.

On April 28, councillors, as they had also done on April 14, 
expressed concern that a study might delay projects currently 
underway. Armstrong told council that it is his intention to have the 
study completed within two months.

"The interim control bylaw under the planning act is to freeze things 
for a short period of time. The maximum under the planning act is one 
year, and then you can extend it a year, but the intent of planning 
staff is to have the study done within the next couple of months," 
Armstrong told council on April 28.

Some members of council remained concerned that a two-month freeze 
could have a negative impact on potential projects currently in the 
works. After extensive debate, Councillor Barb Clumpus moved to defer 
the decision on implementing an interim control bylaw until the next 
meeting of council, however she could not find enough support on 
council to defer, and the resolution was approved in a narrow 4-3 
vote with councillors Clumpus and McIntosh, along with Deputy Mayor 
Harley Greenfield voting against.

While any delay might be frustrating for a new business venture, Rob 
Mahy, a Meaford resident and co-founder of M.E.N.D (Mother Nature's 
Natural Design), a medical marijuana patient advocacy and educating 
collective, says that council and staff are doing what they need to do.

"They're intelligent, and they're on the ball, everybody is doing 
their job, but they're still behind the pace (adapting to the 
recently changed federal regulations surrounding medical marijuana 
production) at this point, and that's all it is," Mahy said of 
council and staff.

While Mahy said it would have been nice to have already implemented 
any required municipal policies in anticipation of revised federal 
legislation, he is pleased that the response from council on the 
issue has been positive, and he is confident that council and staff 
want to complete the study and implement policies as quickly as 
possible in order to allow potential projects to move forward.

"These guys have been doing everything that they can to put it all 
into place," offered Mahy.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom