Pubdate: Fri, 24 Oct 2014
Source: Simcoe Reformer, The (CN ON)
Page: A1
Copyright: 2014 Sun Media
Author: Monte Sonnenberg
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal - Canada)


Norfolk's Police Services Board has weighed in on a court challenge to
Canadian laws governing legal marijuana production.

Peter Hellyer of Simcoe, chair of the Norfolk PSB, will write a letter
to Health Canada asking the agency to expedite court proceedings
mounted earlier this year. That challenge has delayed the
implementation of new laws that will take the growing of legal
marijuana out of the hands of "mom and pop" operations and entrust it
to industrial producers operating under stricter rules.

The letter was requested Wednesday by Windham Coun. Jim Oliver, a
council representative to the PSB. Oliver has fielded numerous
complaints from local residents who don't appreciate living next door
to grow operations. There are concerns over odor, vicious dogs and a
suspicion that some operations have attracted the criminal element.

"The rules are there," Oliver said. "This just needs to be resolved
relative to the court challenge. Don't let this drag on for years
right up to the Supreme Court. It is my fear that it could be in
someone's financial interest to drag this on for years and years. If
it comes to that, all the good work they've done with these new
regulations will be wasted."

e Medical Marijuana Access Regulations were introduced in 2001. The
plan was to allow patients with a prescription to grow their own
medical marijuana.

Since 2001, a number of problems have been identified with the
program. Many of the buildings where legal marijuana is grown aren't
designed to handle the hydro requirements or the high humidity
associated with hydroponic horticulture.

Neighbours in residential areas don't appreciate living next door to
this activity, while some growers have been caught abusing their
permits by selling marijuana on the black market.

More than 30,000 people in Canada were authorized to produce their own
marijuana under the MMAR program. As of April 1, the Harper government
planned to cancel these permits and turn production over to licensed
industrial operations operating under tight security. The transition
was halted in March when a judge granted an injunction so a challenge
could be heard under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

At Wednesday's meeting, Coun. Peter Black said the legal proceedings
have muddied the waters around Norfolk's new official plan and zoning
bylaw. As it stands, sanctioned marijuana production is only legal in
industrial and agricultural zones. However, production in residential
and urban areas under the MMAR program will continue as long as the
charter challenge remains before the courts.  
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