FACT SHEET: Cannabis Update
QUESTION: (via Facebook Page Direct Message)
The CannTrust facility on Balfour grows cannabis for medical purposes. It is regulated by Health Canada. Their regulation covers things like odour and light. While the Town’s bylaw Staff will collect any odour or light complaints — the most they can do is forward them to Health Canada to address.
Please see: https://www.pelham.ca/Modules/News/index.aspx?newsId=caead86f-c9ab-47bd-994d-13afbeb1fde7
It’s not much solace, but you can approach MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) and ask them to review your assessment based on the CannTrust operation…
FACT SHEET: Cannabis Update
Interim Control Bylaw to be Introduced at Next Pelham Town Council (October 15, 2018)
In a couple of weeks, it will be legal in Canada to possess or use cannabis. The Federal Government amended the Criminal Code so that Canadians can buy, sell and consume cannabis and cannabis products. Under federal legislation, Health Canada administers the licensing regime for recreational cannabis growers. These licensed producers serve as the sole source of legal recreational cannabis in Canada. The federal framework includes rules regulating grow operations as well.
The two large cannabis greenhouses in Pelham – on Balfour at Hwy 20 and on Foss near Haist – grow cannabis for medical purposes. It too is regulated by Health Canada. Their regulation covers things like odour and light. While the Town’s bylaw Staff have and will continue to collect any odour or light complaints — the most they can do is forward them to Health Canada to address the issues.
(Please see the Town’s website from the spring for more information: https://www.pelham.ca/Modules/News/index.aspx?newsId=caead86f-c9ab-47bd-994d-13afbeb1fde7)
While I have been out campaigning for Election as Pelham’s Regional Councillor I have been asked to address my position on Cannabis operations in Pelham:
The Region does not regulate zoning. However, Regional Council does act as Niagara’s Board of Health. A few months ago I made a motion at the Region to ask the Federal Government to reduce their focus of smoking as they legalized cannabis for recreational purposes. Smoking anything is bad for one’s health and, since they were intent on legalization, the motion encouraged them to lessen the focus on smoking by legalizing all products at the same time; sadly, the Federal Government announced that smoking legalization would occur on October 17 and that other products would be legal in April 2019. Moving forward, I will continue discourage recreational smoking and drug use.
Provincial Governments will be regulating the retail sale of cannabis and related products. These retail stores can set up shop and begin sales in April 2019. The Ontario Government has granted Towns and Cities a one-time opportunity to opt out of cannabis retail in their communities. To opt out, City or Town councils must pass a resolution by January 22, 2019 stating they do not wish to host cannabis retail stores in their communities. The Council resolution must be sent to the Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario.
There is no time period for a local municipality to opt back in via resolution. If the opt out resolution is reversed by a future municipal Council resolution, that second decision is final.
Aside from this one-time opt-out provision, the Town can only regulate cannabis growing through land use planning tools like zoning.
Medical and recreational cannabis operations are regulated as agricultural land uses in the current Town of Pelham Bylaws. And, as such, the Town has relied on Health Canada to enforce their rules — no odour being allowed to be emitted from a medical facility, for instance. Unfortunately, in some instances this has not worked.
Current Town Council has taken some actions to address these issues: meetings/conversations with our local MPs directly, pointed conversations with Health Canada staff, and have approved a very strongly worded resolution to the Federal Government. Other local Councils followed this lead and endorsed the resolution.
Given the quickly changing environment, on October 1, Council directed Town Staff to bring forward an “Interim Control Bylaw” at the next meeting of Town Council. This bylaw would allow the Town to suspend any new facilities or expansions of existing facilities while the Town studies and proposes new land-use planning rules. If the bylaw is approved later this month, we would have up to one year to consider options. This could become especially important should a firm wish to establish a recreational cannabis greenhouse, for instance.
Of note: existing medical cannabis facilities would not be impacted by this bylaw — unless they wanted to expand.
The current Town Council is very interested in your views on whether we should proceed with the Interim Control Bylaw to allow time for review. Many nearby residents suggest that odour and light pollution remain significant issues and impact the quiet enjoyment of their homes and properties. Others suggest that those issues are no different than the impacts from other agricultural uses – from chickens to pigs to the spreading of manure to spraying fruit trees – and they welcome the more than 500 new jobs in our community.
The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) just released a briefing for Municipal Governments about the Ontario Recreational Cannabis Framework; please find a copy here: https://www.amo.on.ca/AMO-PDFs/Reports/2018/Briefing-Municipal-Governments-in-the-Ontario-(1).aspx