Opinion

Medical marijuana operation eyed for Campbell River

Several people have expressed an interest in opening a commercial medical marijuana plant in Campbell River following the federal government’s announcement of changes to the medicinal marijuana program.

Coun. Larry Samson said the city has already been approached by some residents who want to take advantage of the government’s soon-to-be launched $1.3 billion free market in medical marijuana.

“We, as a city, are getting inquiries from people interested in starting up these commercial operations,” Samson said. “So I think it’s important that the city be proactive and start looking at our zoning, as well as different bylaws, to ensure that we’re prepared when such commercial operations do come forward.”

Over the next three and a half months, Health Canada will be phasing out the old ways of small-scale, homegrown medical marijuana and replacing that system with larger, indoor marijuana facilities that must be certified by the RCMP and health inspectors.

Those operations will produce, package and distribute the marijuana, which will have to meet certain standards.

The government will not put a limit on the number of facilities allowed to exist across the country, however, some municipalities are choosing to ban the operations from their communities.

“Some municipalities have chosen not to participate, in other words, they’ve passed bylaws not to allow these operations,” Samson said.

Campbell River city council, however, chose Tuesday to get more information from city staff before making a decision.

Samson said he thought it was important for the city to ensure its services are adequate, as well as its zoning, for commercial medical marijuana facilities.

Council agreed and voted to direct city staff to come back with a report that outlines the new federal medical marijuana program and includes information on zoning, and potential changes to the building bylaw and fires services bylaw.

The report is also expected to address the potential for criminal activity associated with the facilities.

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