City stays quiet on medical grow ops

Eight more planned for Maple Ridge, as legal issues fester

Merle Chambers

While Whonnock residents worry about a new medical marijuana plant almost complete on 272nd Street, another eight such operations could be coming to a Maple Ridge.

Those locations haven’t been revealed by the city, but the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations doesn’t prevent the city from disclosing those locations, says both a lawyer, as well as an owner in the medical-marijuana business.

“There’s nothing in the MMPR that says the city can’t disclose it,” says Chad Clelland who runs a medicinal marijuana web portal and operates the Greenleaf Medical Clinic in Abbotsford.

Some cities are championing the operations as a means of economic development, Clelland noted.

The MMPR is the governing set of regulations for the industry.

Whonnock residents wanted to know why they weren’t told earlier of Tantalus Lab’s intent of building there. The previous council allowed the operation to locate there after being one of the first cities to direct all medical marijuana operations to Agricultural Land Reserve locations.

While fire, police and the city have to be informed of the possible locations, through what is called notices of intent, those are not being released to the public.

The city is still waiting to hear from its lawyers on what information it can disclose on further proposals.

“There’s a strong sentiment that if we were to disclose the addresses and that somehow resulted in the community protesting … that the city could be held liable for that company not getting its licence,” said Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read.

But council has not made a final decision on whether it will or not disclose locations, she pointed out.

The city has asked Health Canada if it can release the locations of the other proposed sites.

“And we don’t have an answer on that.”

Read also wrote to Health Minister Rona Ambrose last month asking for a process to allow the public to participate in location of marijuana facilities.

Read said even with the new regulations on medical marijuana facilities in the ALR, the city does not have enough power to require marijuana facilities to move to one particular area or to only operate where municipal water is provided.

Abbotsford lawyer John Conroy understands the predicament the city is in.

“It may be fair to withhold locations unless it becomes obvious,” where those proposed facilities are.

It’s possible a city could be sued if a location is released resulting in a lost business opportunity, he added.

But here has to be a balance, between informing the public and privacy.

“But when it comes to marijuana, the reaction is often so emotional, so it does cause problems.”

Conroy also said that Health Canada regulations don’t prohibit cities from disclosing locations.

The MMPR requires that applicants notify fire, police and municipal officials of their plans, Conroy said.

“I would think, therefore, the whole point is to put the city, representing the people, on notice,” of a company’s plans.

That way, if people have concerns, they can raise them at public meetings.

“You need to have a balance in terms of making sure you keep everyone happy.”

On the other hand, if no rezoning is required for a marijuana facility to be built, a public meeting may not be required.

Part of the problem is that people don’t understand what’s involved in a modern, medicinal marijuana grow facility, he added.



Just Posted

Registration open for c’usqunela elementary in Maple Ridge

Applications are being accepted until midnight on Jan. 31 for students from Kindergarten to Grade 7

Bullying and relationships explored in coming of age drama at the ACT

GEMS kicks off the new year with romantic drama Porcupine Lake

Maple Ridge player makes Team Canada for softball

Larissa Franklin again named to national squad

Keep focus on helping Canadians at home, Trudeau tells MPs at start of meeting

Trudeau said the Liberals will offer Canadians hope amid issue like climate change and global tensions

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Crash closes Coquihalla southbound lane south of Merritt

Accident occurred approximately 26 kilometres south of Merritt

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

Most Read