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Communities given say over medical marijuana grow ops
Municipalities such as Cranbrook and Kimberley will soon have the ability to control where medical marijuana is grown.
Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks spoke to Cranbrook city council on Monday, September 9, about the new regulations for medical marijuana, which will be enacted on April 1, 2014.
Since it began in 2001, Health Canada's medical marijuana program has grown to include 30,000 authorized persons. At the moment, individuals are allowed to produce marijuana in their homes. But new regulations announced in June will prohibit that.
"Right now, as the legislation stands, anyone in Canada who can obtain a license to grow medical marijuana can grow it anywhere they want. And there is no notification made to a municipality, to the police or to the fire department. It's only Health Canada that knows where this grow op is," said MP Wilks, who consulted with the Minister of Health about the new regulations.
"There will be stringent guidelines brought forth with medical marijuana, specifically to how it is going to be taken care of and the security of the grow op itself. There will have to be 24 hour monitoring, both electronically and physically, of the grow op."
From April 1, medical marijuana producers will need to seek municipal zoning for the operation.
"One of the larger things I came here to talk about is that it's going to be incumbent upon municipalities to ensure that if they are going to allow a grow op in their community, that it be zoned properly. Ultimately, you will be the ones who will have the final say as to whether you want this to happen or not," Wilks said to Cranbrook council.
He suggested that municipalities should only consider allowing medical marijuana grow operations on industrially zoned property.
"In an industrial area, you can normally control it a lot better because they are larger areas and they are much more restricted," said Wilks. "The second thing that will trigger is they will have to get a business license. So the community will know where that grow op is.
"There are a lot of things that kick in as soon as you do a business license. You will have an electrical inspector and building inspector who will come and check everything out. The fire chief will come and check everything. So everything starts to kick in and I think from a safety perspective that makes a lot of sense."