Wednesday, August 21, 2013
City Hall News
Medicinal Weed Fix
City motions to amend bylaws to remove pot grow shows from residential areas
Released by Chilliwack City Hall
he City of Chilliwack is actively taking steps to ensure it is prepared for Health Canada’s new medical marijuana grow operations (MMGO) regulations, which will take the operations out of people’s homes.
In 2001 Health Canada introduced the Marijuana Medical Access Regulation Program (MMAR), and since that time the program has grown significantly and resulted in “…unintended consequences for public health, safety and security as a result of allowing individuals to produce marihuana in their homes.” (Health Canada, 2012)
After a Public Hearing on August 20, Council gave second and third readings to bylaw revisions that will help accommodate the new regulations by including MMGOs in a special industrial zone within the city. Although Health Canada will retain responsibilities for inspections and adherence to their regulations, the City can control specific conditions surrounding the special industrial zone.
“We are taking a proactive approach to ensure these new businesses are properly located within Chilliwack,” said Mayor Gaetz. “By assigning them to the M6 industrial zone we will be able to accurately situate local MMGOs in a positive manner while protecting valuable farmland and minimizing the potential for complaints about odour and incompatibility with residential and other land uses.”
Any proponent wishing to establish an MMGO within the City would need to identify a site that is designated “Special Industrial” within the Official Community Plan and submit a rezoning application for the site.
A rezoning is a public process and also requires notification of the proposed change in land use. The public will be permitted to comment during the process, and Council will make the final decision if they wish to rezone the property for this particular purpose.
As Health Canada moves forward with changes to the regulations for MMGOs, the City of Chilliwack will continue to proactively address the situation in a practical manner.
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