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Councillors discuss cannabis zoning regulations

by Olivia Rutt

ERIN - With cannabis to be legalized as of July 1, Erin council wants to be ready to regulate any production and dispensaries that may crop up.

On Dec. 12, county planner Sarah Wilhelm presented a report outlining three options and recommendations for council.

The options were first presented for information at an Oct. 3 meeting.

Option A includes defining terms for: medical cannabis production facility, cannabis production facility and cannabis dispensary.

Option B would define the terms and provide detailed regulations of where and how the uses can be permitted.

Option C is to make no changes. The report states that under the current zoning bylaw, cannabis production facilities and dispensaries would be permitted in a number of zones. By not making any changes, building permits may be issued without council’s consideration and endorsement.

Wilhelm said council should go forward with option B and set a public meeting for the zoning amendment.

She added amendments would only deal with medical cannabis production facilities, as marijuana has not been legalized yet for recreational use.

“I think that the town is very well placed on this issue,” she said.

“We’ve had inquiries and that’s kind of what initiated some of this happening. I think the timing is right.”

Part of the draft changes include:

- a building in the light and general industrial zones must be 70 metres away from a residential, institutional or open space zone;

- a building in the agricultural or rural industrial zone must be 150 metres away from a residential, institutional or open space zone;

- the facility must be located within a wholly enclosed building;

- outdoor storage is prohibited;

- buildings are only allowed in permitted zones and are subject to site plan control;

- security building may be located in setback zones;

- no minor variances permitted; and

- a medical marijuana production facility shall only be permitted in the agricultural, light industrial, general industrial or rural industrial zones.

“At the end of the day, I guess it doesn’t matter any longer what your personal opinion is about cannabis, it’s going to be a product that’s going to be produced,” said councillor Jeff Duncan.

He questioned the restriction of minor variances.

“I think that’s a bit of an over reach.”

Mayor Allan Alls said he would rather be more restrictive until “we’re satisfied in how this is going to work.”

He added, “I think this is all a huge mistake, but we’re going to have to live with it.”

Councillor John Brennan said past discussion included restricting production and processing to an industrial area because the taxation varies from agricultural zones.

“The inquires that we’ve had have been in an agricultural zone because it’s a growing of a crop, that’s where this gets a little tricky,” said Wilhem.

“We can see if we can find out the taxation implications when we bring more information forward to council on that.”

She added rezoning would be required for any facility regardless of the zone.  

Council received the report for information. The date for the public meeting has not yet been set.

December 22, 2017


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