No concrete-based pot operations allowed on agricultural reserve land. (File photo)

Restrictions on pot operations on farm land welcomed by North Cowichan

Marijuana production not allowed on concrete bases

Federal regulations prohibiting marijuana production in North Cowichan’s Agricultural Land Reserve in structures with concrete bases are welcome to the municipality’s council.

In a report to council, community planner Mairi Bosomworth said that, while the municipality now defines marijuana production in the ALR as a “farm use” in accordance with federal regulations, additional regulatory changes have since been adopted by the Agricultural Land Commission that place more restrictive requirements on marijuana-production facilities in the ALR.

She said that pot production is now designated by the ALC to be a “farm use” in a number of circumstances; including outdoors in a field, inside a structure that has a base consisting entirely of soil, inside a structure that had been, before July 13, 2018, constructed for the purpose of growing crops, and in an existing licensed operation.

Last April, North Cowichan’s previous council sent a letter to Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham reiterating the municipality’s long-standing preference against the siting of marijuana-growing operations on ALR land, with a preferred alternative of siting them on industrially-zoned lands where possible.

The letter also stated that if pot production is allowed in the ALR, North Cowichan should be granted authority to establish development permit requirements to address the siting of these facilities to reduce their impact.

One of the major concerns council had with placing pot operations on ALR land is the loss of farmland to cement-based, industrial-style, cannabis-production bunkers.

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring said at the council meeting on April 3 that the federal regulations not allowing pot operations in cement-based structures is “heartening” to him.

“I’ve been ranting for some time that losing productive farmland to these operations is not good public policy,” he said.

“Their base must be soil so, at the end of the day, if the operations fails, the property will stay as farmland. This is a very positive step in the right direction.”

There are currently no marijuana production facilities of any kind in North Cowichan’s ALR.

North Cowichan allowed medical marijuana growing facilities on its ALR lands for the first time in 2017 when new federal regulations were implemented.

The decision was made reluctantly after North Cowichan, and other B.C. municipalities, were sent a set of guidelines from the ministry that local governments are encouraged to follow in adopting bylaws for marijuana growing facilities.

Council also decided at its meeting on April 3 to give the first and second reading to a bylaw amendment to allow “micro-cannabis” production facilities in some of its commercial areas.

Micro-cannabis production facilities are only allowed up to 200 square metres of space for production, much smaller than standard and much larger production operations which are typically around 14,000 square metres.

Just Posted

Memorial Midget C Hockey Tournament supports Puska

Ladysmith man in need of a kidney transplant receiving abundant financial contributions

Poppy funds blossom at Chemainus Health Care Centre

Cowichan Legion Branch 53 makes a valuable contribution

Tonya Kilmer fighting to block release of coroner’s report

Fears revealing exactly how Ben Kilmer took his life will have traumatic affect on her two children

Chemainus gallery celebrates its third birthday on Canada Day

Rainforest Arts marks the occasion, with Morgan Bristol and Copper Canyon featured

Police urge Cowichan Valley businesses to be on the lookout for counterfeit currency

Denominations of $5, $20 and $100 the more prevalent around the Cowichan Valley

VIDEO: Huge crowds gather in downtown Toronto for Raptors parade

Mayor John Tory declares it ‘We The North Day’ after team’s historic NBA title win

People throwing food at a bear in Fernie alarms conservation groups

“Approaching and feeding bears contributes to habituation,” says conservation group

Feds announce $50M strategy to fight dementia

Emphasis is on prevention and and supporting caregivers

Federal Liberals’ plan to help first-time homebuyers to kick in weeks before election

Ottawa to pick up 5% of a mortgage on existing homes for households that earn under $120,000 a year

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Most Read