Pubdate: Thu, 11 Jan 2018
Source: Simcoe Reformer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 Sun Media
Author: Monte Sonnenberg


Norfolk moves to control odours from marijuana grow ops

SIMCOE - Norfolk County has opted for a low-key approach to the
regulation of marijuana grow operations.

Producers won't have to apply for a zoning amendment or defend their
applications at Norfolk council.

However, they will have to meet planning standards and ensure that
odours from their operations don't impact the surrounding

This is the route Norfolk council chose Tuesday after a discussion of
marijuana and its potentially negative impact on surrounding properties.

Mayor Charlie Luke says the situation in Norfolk is like "the wild,
wild west." Grow operations are multiplying and will become more
numerous once recreational marijuana is legalized this summer.

Luke said rules are needed to ensure these operations don't interfere
with residents' rights to enjoy their property undisturbed.

"I personally think there's a place in Norfolk County for the
responsible production of marijuana," Luke said. "This is not an issue
about marijuana. This is to address those people who don't care about
the house next door and the kids who live in it."

Health Canada had a firm grip on marijuana production until 2016.
That's when a federal court ruled that production restrictions in
place violated medicinal users' access rights under the Canadian
Charter of Rights & Freedoms.

Since this ruling, licensed medicinal users have had the right to grow
their own marijuana, grow marijuana for themselves and other certified
users, or delegate their production to a third party.

This production has proliferated with little federal or provincial
oversight. Some third-party facilities house thousands of plants. As
an example, Health Canada allows medicinal users who need 50 grams of
dried leaf a day to have 250 plants under tillage at any given moment.

This is a problem because marijuana plants give off a pungent odour.
Some households have complained they can't enjoy their backyards or
sleep at night due to the smell. Some have complained that the smell
makes them ill.

There are also noise issues related to ventilation equipment and light
pollution at night.

"There is very little regulation from the province and the feds," says
Langton Coun. Roger Geysens.

"They have a role to play here. My problem is children having to
inhale the smell of this marijuana. If the province and the federal
government will not deal with this, we'll have to."

The measures adopted this week will be the subject of an open house in
February and a public meeting under the Planning Act in March.

Final rules could include a 150-metre buffer between greenhouses
producing marijuana and sensitive land-uses nearby. The buffer
requirement could be higher if production is conducted outside.

Odour-mitigation measures could include mandatory charcoal filtration
systems on greenhouses to capture the smell before it escapes into the
surrounding neighbourhood.

Norfolk's planning department charges $2,010 for a site-plan review.
The user fee is based on the principle that developers and not
taxpayers should pay the full cost of vetting their projects.
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