Cannabis industry would bring jobs to Summerland, council told
SUMMERLAND — Summerland Council directed staff Tuesday to investigate and prepare recommendations for zoning bylaw amendments for licensed marijuana production operations.
Staff will continue to monitor federal and provincial regulations related to marijuana distribution in preparation for changes in distribution regulations anticipated to be introduced by July 1, 2018.
The intent of council’s decision is to develop zoning amendments pertaining to the growing and processing of marijuana, not the store front sales operations which continue to be illegal.
As explained by chief administrative officer Linda Tynan, federal regulations currently license medical marijuana production facilities and licenses for commercial production include operation, production and distribution regulations.
“However, at this time the licensing process allows local governments through their zoning bylaw to regulate where the use is permitted in their community,” Tynan said.
There are no zoning bylaws in Summerland concerning commercial marijuana production facilities.
“Therefore, the use is not specifically regulated and can fall under agricultural and industrial uses existing in the bylaw,” Tynan said.
Development of specific bylaws is especially important in view of the anticipated increase in the number of commercial production facilities once recreational use of marijuana becomes legal.
Jeff Thorne, who owns Sweet Valley Cannabis Inc. with wife Erin Lang, told council of the potential benefits to the community should his application to become a licensed producer through the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations be approved.
Currently, Sweet Valley is a consulting firm in Summerland that operates a licensed research garden for users of medical cannabis.
If allowed to participate fully under ACMPR regulations, Thorne said that Sweet Valley would be hiring over 100 full times employers, making it one of the biggest employers in Summerland.
Work would be conducted in highly secure greenhouses with state-of-the-art odour control.
“We feel that agriculture land is the most appropriate site,” he said.
“On one hand we don’t want all farm land taken up by cannabis or all industrial land,” Coun. Doug Holmes said.