Port Moody council backs medical pot production

Port Moody council approved zoning bylaw amendments to allow medicinal marijuana production in its industrial zones. - FILE PHOTO
Port Moody council approved zoning bylaw amendments to allow medicinal marijuana production in its industrial zones.
— image credit: FILE PHOTO

Could pot farms soon be sprouting in Port Moody?

It's a possibility after city council approved a zoning bylaw amendment Tuesday to allow medicinal marijuana production and testing in PoMo's industrial zones.

The city's general industrial zones (M3) cover areas such as the Suncor lands, Pacific Coast Terminals, Mill and Timber and the former Andrés Wines property. Light industrial (M1) areas are located along Murray and Clarke streets.

Council opted not to allow medical pot growing in its rural A1 and A2 zones, which allow for agricultural uses and include parts of Ioco and Belcarra Regional Park.

Its decision comes after the federal government introduced changes to marijuana growing regulations, bringing in a licensing system so that medical marijuana can be produced on a commercial scale, according to a staff report.

And while there was little discussion on the issue, Coun. Diana Dilworth said she supports the concept of medical marijuana but doesn't want to see the leafy bud growing here in PoMo.

There are 13 "big box" medical marijuana grow facilities across Canada, she added, six of which are in B.C.

"Other municipalities have approved it on their sites and, quite frankly, I'm saying not in my backyard," Dilworth said.

Coun. Gerry Nuttall agreed, noting the city doesn't have enough information about the kind of emissions a pot facility would give off.

Other council members took a more favourable approach to the change, however, emphasizing the need for sick people to have access to legal, medicinal marijuana.

The staff report notes Port Moody Police would be able to monitor marijuana grow facilities in the industrial zones, as opposed to the isolated rural zones, but "it is not clear exactly how the new [federal regulation] system will work on the ground and there is still some concern whether organized crime may continue to insert themselves into the process."

Coquitlam council passed a bylaw in July 2012 that limits medical marijuana production operations to M3 zones. Port Coquitlam does not currently provide for medical marijuana facilities but city staff there expect to bring forward a report on the matter later this year.


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