No medicinal grow-ups on agriculture land

No medicinal grow-ups on agriculture land

What’s worse — pot or pig farm? That’s the question Kamloops councillors found themselves debating this week after Coun. Tina Lange tried to have medical marijuana grow-ops made a permitted use on agricultural lands. Since November of last year, the city has been tinkering with new zoning regulations for medical marijuana grow-ops that would restrict them to industrial land. While council has debated the merits of allowing the grows in agricultural areas, it has never voted in favour of including farmland in the permitted area. But, that didn’t stop Lange from trying again, first by asking that new regulations state agricultural landowners can apply for site-specific exemptions to grow marijuana. “I’m thinking of our agricultural plan and what we’re hearing from ranchers and farmers today is that it’s very difficult to keep their heads above water,” Lange said. “They’re looking for various ways to keep running a farm.” When Mayor Peter Milobar pointed out agricultural landowners would be allowed to apply for an exemption regardless of what regulations state, Lange changed her motion to ask that grow-ops become a permitted use on all farmland. That didn’t make sense to Coun.Nelly Dever, who sits on the city’s agricultural committee. “Health Canada has made it very clear that they want medicinal marijuana crops growing indoors,” she said. “And the primary purpose of agricultural land is to use the land,” Dever said. Coun. Nancy Bepple said if the city allows pig farms on agricultural land, which she said have similar odour issues to grow-ops, it ought to allow medical marijuana. Milobar believes industrial land is easier for RCMP to keep an eye on and is not sure there would be that much demand to grow in agricultural areas. Under new Health Canada regulations, medical marijuana will now be grown in larger, commercial settings rather than by individual users in their homes — but it’s not clear how many grows will be required per province to meet demand. “We don’t even know how many applications we’re going to see, if there’ll be one in every city or one per province,” Milobar said. Lange’s suggestion was defeated by a vote of 5-4, with Milobar, Dever and councillors Pat Wallace, Marg Spina and Ken Christian voting against it. A vote to take zoning restrictions drafted by staff — which limit grows to class two and three industrial land at least 150 metres away from areas used by children under 18 — to a public hearing passed unanimously. That hearing will likely take place this fall.Source:

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