City reviews regulations related to cannabis production and cultivation

By Lindsay Advocate

City Council received a report at the Nov. 4 Council meeting on the considerations to be reviewed surrounding cannabis production and cultivation.

The report states that the Federal government, through Health Canada, is responsible for issuing licences for personal medical use of cannabis and commercial production licenses. The City is entitled to regulate cannabis cultivation and production as it relates to the City’s ability to regulate land use within zoning by-laws and property standards by-laws. The City is entitled to adapt and enforce these by-laws to regulate property development to minimize nuisance such as odour and light pollution.

There are two types of commercial licenses available: cultivation licenses and processing licenses.

Cultivation licenses allow the growing of cannabis indoors or outdoors and, if authorized, the sale and distribution to other licence holders and licensed retailers. Medical marijuana can only be permitted within a residential property if the person with the license lives on the property.

Processing licenses permit the processing of cannabis indoors, and if authorized, the sale and distribution to other license holders and licensed retailers. Processing activities include extraction and refinement to create topicals, extracts and edibles.

While the Cannabis Act does not require any consultation with the municipality, under the Planning Act, municipalities are granted the authority to regulate land uses. Staff have identified the following considerations that require further analyses:

▪Distinguishing cannabis cultivation from production by way of defining such uses in zoning by-laws

▪Amending existing definitions (such as Agricultural) or carving out new use-specific definitions.

▪Determining an appropriate definition for the uses

▪Determining appropriate separation distances from residential uses and other sensitive land uses

▪Requiring Dark Sky compliance to mitigate light pollution

▪Applying site plan control to each cultivator or producer

▪How and when to require studies pertaining to odour, storm water and noise to minimize potential concerns from neighbouring property owners

Along with odour and light pollution, staff are aware of concerns pertaining to a potential increase in criminal activity as a result of the land use.

The safety and comfort of residents along with enforcement of applicable laws will be considered as future recommendations come forward for amending zoning by-laws and the Property Standards By-law to address cannabis cultivation and processing operations. Input will be sought from the Agricultural Development Advisory Committee before returning to Council in 2021.

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