Residents concerned about medical marijuana production facilities cropping up in the Regional District of Nanaimo can voice their concerns this week. A public hearing Thursday night will give people a chance to comment on proposed rules for such facilities.
They would be allowed on agriculturally zoned land, within the Agricultural Land Reserve and on some industrial properties. The RDN’s Manager of Current Planning, Jeremy Holm, says there are about 6000 parcels of land in the RDN that current qualify. Holm says if the amendments are approved, there would be about 1900 parcels of land where a medical marijuana production facility could be built.
Nanaimo has already decided commercial grow-ops need to go on industrial land, and there’s a proposal to build one on Maughan Road.
The Sunshine Coast Regional District also has an application on the books for a facility at the SCRD owned Hillside Industrial Park. However, SCRD Directors are also planning to press Health Canada for more clarification on how the facilities will be inspected and regulated.
Meanwhile, NDP Agriculture Critic, and Powell River Sunshine Coast MLA, Nicholas Simons says he sees no issues with big commercial grow-ops on agricultural land. Simons says he has some reservations about the federal government’s changes to the rules around medical marijuana, but when it comes to the plant itself, it’s an agricultural product.
Simons also says the work local governments and the Agricultural Land Commission are doing around allowing marijuana growing in the ALR is an example of the system working properly, and a strong argument for not tinkering with the Commission, or local government authority over land use.