Regional district thinking pot

  • Feb. 15, 2014 2:00 p.m.

The regional district is grappling with upcoming changes to the medical marijuana system, which will allow licenced producers to grow, dry and sell the substance to registered clients within the next couple of months. The new Health Canada rules take effect April 1, and the regional district has already received one inquiry about whether the zoning on Graham Island would allow a marijuana facility, administrator Joan Merrick says. “This is an issue for all municipalities across BC,” Ms Merrick said. “We need to make sure if one is developed, it’s developed in an area that is not going to disturb neighbours.” Regional directors read a report on the issue from planning consultant Judy Skogstad at their January meeting. Ms Skogstad explained that the regional district’s zoning on rural Graham Island allows “agricultural use” in the A-1, R-1, R-2 and RS-1 zones, and that growing marijuana plants indoors would meet the definition of agriculture. Drying and processing would also be allowed, as long as the marijuana was grown on site and not imported from somehwere else. Similar rules are in place for Moresby Island. Ms Skogstad suggested the regional district may want to review its zoning in light of the new marijuana rules. Her report lists options like requiring greater setbacks and larger lot sizes for marijuana facilities, excluding marijuana production from certain zones, or allowing marijuana activities in industrial zones. Directors have not made any decisions yet and will be reviewing more information on the issue, Ms Merrick said.

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