Pubdate: Fri, 30 Sep 2016
Source: Tribune, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016, Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Allan Benner
Page: A1


Vance Badawey recalls arguing against a proposed medical marijuana
greenhouse on Pinecrest Road back when he was Port Colborne's mayor.

Now as Niagara Centre's MP, Badawey feels he's in a better position to
deal with the issue that city council was then powerless to prevent.

At the time, he said was concerned about the impact growing medical
marijuana could have on the residential properties surrounding the
greenhouse, and suggested it would be better suited to an industrial
property. However, because the greenhouse land was already zoned
agricultural, the city's hands were tied. The medical marijuana
facility on the city's rural east side, formerly operated as Muileboom
Greenhouse, was the scene of a violent robbery Sept. 19 in which two
people were held at gunpoint.

"I'm somewhat livid over it," Badawey said about what has

"A lot of what I said back in 2014 when I was the mayor has now come
true, and I'm absolutely beside myself about it," he said.

Five suspects from the Toronto area were arrested by police for the
greenhouse robbery, but five more believed to be armed are still at

During an ensuing investigation, police said they found 3,400 plants
growing in the greenhouse - about 3,000 more than it is permitted to
grow under three Health Canada licences it was operating by. Police
said charges could be laid, but they have yet to make any arrests
related to exceeding production limits.

Although legislation came into effect on March 31, 2014, that
stringently regulates the operation of medical marijuana growing
facilities, including requiring regular inspections and security
precautions, older facilities - including the greenhouse in Port
Colborne - were grandfathered and continued to operate under old rules.

As such, Badawey is trying to ascertain just how stringently
facilities of that kind are regulated.

"Who's inspecting, who's enforcing, and I want it in writing. That way
I can hold someone to account on this."

Badawey said that information is being sent to his office and once it
arrives he plans to meet with Port Colborne Mayor John Maloney as well
as Niagara Regional Police to ensure people responsible for medical
marijuana facilities "are being held to account."

"That's quite frankly what I'm dealing with right now," he

"I have a dialogue right now with Health Canada, I have a dialogue
with the minister herself, Jane Philpott, as well as the Niagara
Regional Police."

In addition to concerns in the community regarding the robbery,
Badawey is also concerned about the allegations the facility was
growing about $1.5-million worth of marijuana more than its licences

It's something Badawey said he can't discuss because it's still under
investigation, "but let's just say that what comes out of the
investigation, if appropriate, will be legal consequences."
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