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Council not in line with Pitt Meadows grow-op ban

Cranbrook Council seemed to give an indication that it will not be stepping in the way of potential future industrial medical marijuana grow-ops in the area.

A letter from the mayor of Pitt Meadows, which has banned the grow operations, prompted the discussion at the April 28 council meeting.

"They voted to prohibit any medical marijuana facilities in Pitt Meadows," Mayor Wayne Stetski said.

On April 1, Pitt Meadows made a text amendment to its zoning bylaw that prohibits the growing, storing, processing, testing or distribution of cannabis in all zones of the city.

"What's interesting about this one is they brought forward a couple of concerns," Stetski said.

One of those concerns is that the BC Assessment Authority may decided that the medical marijuana industry can qualify to be assessed at farm rates as they are growing a product, whether or not they they are located in agricultural areas.

That could have implications for a municipality that has higher industrial rates than farm rates. CAO Wayne Staudt confirmed that farming and industrial zoning are under similar rates in Cranbrook, after being asked by Coun. Diana J. Scott.

"So we're OK," Scott said.

Pitt Meadows second concern is regarding the lack of services, emergency access and potential impact on neighbouring properties in agricultural areas.

“Not that we’re being asked to do anything, but I wouldn’t go so far as to prohibit it,” Coun. Scott said. “It’s a legitimate business sanctioned by the Government of Canada.”

Coun. Gerry Warner noted he’d put up a prediction a few weeks ago regarding the federal government’s move to industrialize the medical marijuana growing industry.

“In particular, it’s going to be a flop, and so far it has been a flop because the government has reversed itself and is still allowing people to grow marijuana at home for medicinal purposes,” Warner said. “Once you’ve done that there’s no reason to have these industrial factories churning it out.”

Warner then made a reference to the issue “going up in smoke”.

Council took the letter as information and did not make any decisions on the subject.

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