Province torpedoes Pitt Meadows’ medical pot bylaw

Green light, new rules for pot producers in Agricultural Land Reserve

The province has given the green light for medical marijuana to be produced in the Agricultural Land Reserve, despite objections from some cities, including Pitt Meadows.

“We will have to modify our blanket prohibitory bylaw, and meet provincial standards,” said Mayor John Becker.

He noted council still has to review the new regulations set out by the provincial government.

Along with the formal change to the ALR regulation making medical cannabis an allowed use is a standard that municipalities are expected to follow, in passing local bylaws, to control any federally licensed commercial pot producers within city boundaries. The province’s bylaw standard sets out setbacks from streams and property lines, a maximum footprint size for the facility, and minimum distances from parks, schools and urban or ALR boundaries.

Becker said the nature of marijuana production lends itself better to light industrial properties, rather than farmland. And, he said many people – from municipal politicians to Pitt Meadows citizens – worry that these operations will attract criminal behaviour.

“My concern is that this is not like growing flowers or peppers,” said Becker.

Jennifer Thorne is a Kelowna lawyer who represents a client wanting to establish a medicinal marijuana operation in Pitt Meadows, and called the government’s decision a win for that client.

“This is the release we’ve been waiting for,” she said, adding that municipalities will now be able to develop more thoughtful bylaws, rather than attempting outright prohibition.

“It’s very helpful, both to local governments and producers,” she said. “I don’t envy local governments for having to deal with this.”

Thorne said she understands that some people are apprehensive, but said medicinal marijuana is being promoted by sophisticated business people with backgrounds in agriculture and science.

Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese, one of the municipal leaders who opposed allowing the construction of heavily fortified pot factories on ALR land, said Friday he is studying the new rules.

Froese said the province appears to have taken into account many issues raised by municipalities, but added he is still concerned cities will face higher costs to regulate the facilities and police country roads.

Langley Township has already set a business licence fee of $5,000 for medical marijuana producers and Froese hopes that won’t have to change.

“That gives us some control over inspection and that’s important,” he said. “Medical marijuana, as far as I’m concerned, is a pharmaceutical. It’s a lot different than just growing tomatoes.”

Under the provincial rules, pot producers on ALR land will still have to pay industrial property tax rates, not the lower agricultural rate.

The agricultural ministry expects all local bylaws to comply with the standard and the amended regulation by early fall, adding it sought to ensure as much ALR land is used for agriculture as possible while balancing other requirements.

– with files by Jeff Nagel

 

Just Posted

Maple Ridge pool reopening date Feb. 3

Tentative schedule set for Leisure Centre reno completion, staff training

Friends raise money to send Maple Ridge man to Toronto for daughter’s cancer surgery

A gofundme campaign was started to cover the cost of flights and accommodation

B.C. lacrosse’s great builder dies

Sohen Gill did every job in the sport, including coach/GM of Maple Ridge Burrards

Caddy Shack Strip-a-thon raises thousands for Maple Ridge charity

Money will provide Christmas dinners for those in need in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Skies open up in Maple Ridge

Strange cloud formation captured over Albion called a cavum

B.C. woman charged in connection to stolen vehicle smash-up in Kamloops

Kersten Ina Peters was arrested in the Fraser Valley on Friday, Dec. 6

Tavares scores twice as Maple Leafs earn 4-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver sees two-game win streak snapped

UPDATED: No survivors in Gabriola Island plane crash: RCMP

Coroner confirms multiple fatalities after small plane goes down Tuesday night near Nanaimo

VIDEO: Harbour Air makes history with first electric aircraft test flight

Successful flight marks first of its kind in the world

The Grinch who Stole a Hedge: Security camera captures Chilliwack tree theft

RCMP arrives as person calmly walks away with tree in downtown area

Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to rodents and snakes

92 cases of salmonella across six provinces, including B.C.

Meng Wanzhou wins right to more documents involving arrest at Vancouver airport

Defence lawyers allege the Huawei executive was unlawfully detained, searched and interrogated

Police say they’ve identified suspects in Bradley Kline homicide in Surrey

Kline, 26, was found dead at 7055 144A St. on Dec. 7, 2018

Most Read