Pubdate: Thu, 13 Oct 2016
Source: Tribune, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016, Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Laura Barton
Page: A3


The aftershock of an armed robbery at a medical marijuana farm in Port
Colborne last month is still rippling through city council chambers.

On Tuesday night, councillors discussed what could be done to ensure
what happened at the Pinecrest Road property in September doesn't
happen again.

Ward 4 Coun. Ron Bodner brought a motion forth to urge the federal
government to appoint inspectors for medical marijuana growing
facilities that were grandfathered under the Medical Marihuana Access
Regulations, such as the one on Pinecrest Road, and to crack down
harder on properties violating those regulations.

Said Ward 2 Coun. Angie Desmarais: "This is a case of urging them to get 
tough on the issue. Do it once and do it right."

Bodner presented his motion to council at which time suggestions were
made for a couple of amendments before council unanimously agreed on
his motion.

A part of the original motion mentioned revoking the licence of the
medical marijuana facility alone, but Desmarais wanted to take it a
step further.

"Where it says 'no further medical marijuana production is to be
permitted,' I would like it to read, 'either at the offending location
or by the offending medical marijuana growers,'" she said.

While Ward 2 Coun. Yvon Doucet brought forward a concern about
punishing innocent people who might not be aware their properties are
being used for illegal purposes, Desmarais said she found it difficult
to believe this property owner had no idea.

People at the Pinecrest Road property were held at gunpoint while
several people made off with marijuana plants.

Six people have been arrested, their cases still before the courts,
and others are suspected by police of taking part in the crime.

Niagara Regional Police later alleged the greenhouse operation was
growing thousands more plants than it is licensed to grow.

Ward 1 Coun. Dave Elliott said growers and operators know the rules,
so if they don't follow them, they need to be gone.

Mayor John Maloney wondered if there were any restrictions that could
be put on properties or buildings to prevent these kinds of businesses
from moving in.

Planning and development director Dan Aquilina said a report he is
working on will address those concerns.

"A report to council will cover everything from the zoning to the
regulations themselves and that will be brought back to council," he

While it's up to Health Canada to decide what can be done about the
Pinecrest establishment, the goal of Port Colborne councillors is to
figure out what they can do for their residents.
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