Pubdate: Thu, 07 Sep 2017
Source: Simcoe Reformer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Sun Media
Author: Monte Sonnenberg
Page: A1


Issues related to the legal production of marijuana are making
increased demands on Norfolk County's time and resources.

Norfolk council members have been surprised in recent months by the
number of complaints they are receiving from rural residents who find
themselves living next door to legal grow-ops.

At Tuesday's meeting of Norfolk council, Mayor Charlie Luke warned
that complaints about odour and noise can only increase once the
federal government legalizes marijuana for recreational purposes next

"Smell is a big issue with a lot of folks," Luke said. "But we don't
license them. It's difficult for us to meet the expectations of people
as to what we should be doing.

"We have to take a serious look at this. There could be a lot of
headaches over this down the road."

Some legal grow operations in Norfolk have become large because of the
rules surrounding the production of medicinal marijuana.

Licensed producers can grow for the market they serve. They are also
allowed to grow for one other licence holder who doesn't have
facilities of their own.

Some operators have expanded their production by securing separate
civic addressing numbers at the road outside their greenhouses. Under
Health Canada rules, this entitles them to set up a second licensed
operation, as well as grow for another licence holder who lacks
production facilities.

Now that Norfolk staff has figured out what is going in, it is asking
questions about new civic addressing requests before granting them. If
the county suspects the new addresses involve marijuana production,
they are not granted.

The main issues with marijuana production are smell and noise.
Marijuana plants give off a pungent odour. Greenhouses where the
plants are produced often run noisy fans and other mechanical
equipment 24 hours a day.

Nearby residents are complaining to the county. Some are worried that
grow operations are undermining their property values. "It's just
exploded," said Chris Baird, Norfolk's general manager of development
and cultural services. "Odour is not something we typically regulate
beyond fast-food operations."

Waterford Coun. Harold Sonnenberg sees even bigger problems ahead. He
predicted that ruined homes and buildings will become a chronic
problem once recreational use is legalized next July 1.

He said he knows of several homes in his ward that have been badly
damaged because of marijuana production.

"The stench gets into the walls and you can't get it out," Sonnenberg
said. "You can't live in them and you can't sell them."

Luke said the problem is frustrating because Health Canada is allowing
legal production to spread with apparently little oversight. The issue
is a federal matter, he said, but the complaints are directed at the
local level.

CAO David Cribbs said Norfolk should not devote a lot of time to the

He said that it would be better to let the province take the lead
through amendments to the Municipal Act and Planning Act. Queen's Park
will understand best practices in this area and should be allowed to
take the lead on behalf of all Ontario municipalities, said Cribbs.
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