Pot farm odour, se­cu­rity con­cerns lead­ers

The Prince George Citizen - - Front Page - Jeremy HAINSWORTH

Mar­i­juana farm odour and se­cu­rity on B.C.’s Agri­cul­tural Land Re­serve are is­sues of con­cern for mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers gath­ered in Whistler for the an­nual Union of B.C. Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties con­fer­ence.

“The No. 1 is­sue is go­ing to be odour,” said Van­der­hoof Coun. Brian Frenkel.

“I’m go­ing to sug­gest the odour doesn’t come and go,” added Chilli­wack poul­try farmer and city coun­cil­lor Chris Kloot. “It’s 24/7.”

Con­trol of odour can fall un­der fed­eral, pro­vin­cial and local con­trols, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials said.

The fed­eral Cannabis Act out­lines cul­ti­va­tion and pro­cess­ing prac­tices, B.C. Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture se­nior pol­icy an­a­lyst Jackie Cush­ing said.

Cannabis can be grown in open fields or in build­ings con­structed specif­i­cally for grow­ing crops prior to July 13.

“Any build­ing that has been used for an­i­mals or live­stock does not qual­ify,” said Agri­cul­tural Land Com­mis­sion CEO Kim Grout.

“It’s only build­ings that have been used for crops.”

How­ever, said Wil­low Mi­naker, di­rec­tor of the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture’s Strength­en­ing Farm­ing ini­tia­tive, Ot­tawa has yet to re­lease odour com­pli­ance and en­force­ment guide­lines.

How­ever, she added, fed­eral reg­u­la­tions say fil­tra­tion sys­tems must be in place to re­strict odours.

Pitt Mead­ows Coun. John Becker said he hopes the odour reg­u­la­tions will be en­forced, adding that the city has taken le­gal ad­vice on odour con­trol.

He said Health Canada reg­u­la­tions on odour is­sues would trump any right to farm.

For a cannabis pro­ducer to ob­tain a li­cence, they must prove they will have zero odour, he said. “It’s the green­house con­ver­sions,” Becker said. “We’ve been told it’s im­pos­si­ble for green­houses to be retro­fit­ted for no odour.”

Mi­naker said the only suc­cess­ful rem­edy is a fully en­closed heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion and air con­di­tion­ing sys­tem.

“It’s dif­fi­cult. Closed sys­tems can be suc­cess­ful.” The grow­ing of cannabis in open fields has raised the is­sue of theft.

Of­fi­cials down­played those con­cerns.

“With le­gal­iza­tion, cannabis is go­ing to be read­ily avail­able,” Cush­ing said. “Peo­ple will be able to grow it them­selves at home. What is the risk of large-scale crime com­pared to a com­pletely le­gal prod­uct?”

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