Cannabis in­dus­try would bring jobs to Sum­mer­land, coun­cil told

Penticton Herald - - CITY - BY SU­SAN MCIVER

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.

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