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Cannabis cultivation, processing bylaw changes almost complete

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Kawartha Lakes council received an update on changes being made to the bylaw on property standards. These changes will allow the city to better deal with the odour and ventilation concerns that might be produced by the cultivation and processing of cannabis for sale in areas zoned residential and industrial.

Councillor Tracy Richardson asked staff to provide the update. The staff report began by saying that the best way to deal with community concerns regarding cannabis cultivation and processing is through a change in bylaw rather than a change in zoning regulations.

“Our goal is to ensure that the product is safely processed,” staff told council. “We have engaged in consultation with the public on this issue and only received two letters of concern. We are still waiting for comment from the provincial government and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture on our plan.”

Robyn Carlson, the city solicitor, provided much more detail when contacted by the Advocate for further comment. Carlson said, “The amendments to the Property Standard By-law require ventilation of a residence where personal cannabis production results in the production of noxious odours. This could occur where, pursuant to a medical license, a person is permitted to produce up to 400 plants at a time. This would be akin to the existing requirement to vent stoves.”

“The amendments also require ventilation of an industrial cannabis processing facility in an Industrial zone, for the same reason and to the same end (safety of the persons indoors),” Carlson said.

“The amendments further require that personal cannabis production not result in nuisance, in the form of light pollution or odour, to neighbouring property,” Carlson continued.  “Again, this will not occur in the case of the four plants permitted to be grown without license at every household, but rather in the case of a medical license, which can allow for hundreds of plants to be grown in a residential neighbourhood.”

“This by-law does not regulate nuisance associated with commercial agricultural cultivation of cannabis on agriculturally-zoned lands, but does require ventilation of noxious odours associated with such cultivation (to protect persons in the building),” Carlson concluded.

Richardson was pleased at the city’s actions saying “they (bylaw changes) are needed as we move into another growing season.”

Councillor Doug Elmslie wanted to know if there are any legally licensed commercial cannabis operations in Kawartha Lakes, and was told there are none so far.

Councillor Ron Ashmore asked if Health Canada informs the municipality once a license for cannabis growth is issued.

A number of councillors seemed surprised when staff shared, “Licenses are only issued to the producer. The producer is supposed to let the municipality know they have obtained a license.”

Aaron Sloan, responsible for municipal by-law enforcement, was asked the same question for clarification and he said, “Most of the time the producer does not notify the city. We only learn of the existence of the operation through interactions with the OPP or the property owner.”

Kirk is a retired high school history teacher and coach who has had a lifelong interest in politics at all levels. Since retiring, Kirk has spent the last three years doing freelance writing of all kinds for various platforms. Kirk can often be found sitting in the press gallery at City Hall observing and reporting on the vagaries of local government.

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