City looking to limit zones for commercial marijuana production

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

As such, the City has been advised to be proactive in labelling certain areas where a permit for a licensed producer would or would not be allowed.

Any applicants for a licence to produce will first have to notify the local RCMP, fire department and government, which will give them time to comment on the application to Health Canada. The federal government has said it will respect zones set out by local government when choosing whether to issue a production licence. 

In the meantime, council will be withholding any related development or building permits and business licences until it decides to limit production to any zone of the city and what conditions would be placed on a producer. At this point there are no pending applications. 

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Director of Legislative and Administrative Services Janet Prestley says she’s heard many communities pushing it to their industrial areas, “so that you can provide additional specifications for ventilation and things of that nature.” 

Both Mayor Lori Ackerman and Councillor Byron Stewart have expressed their concerns about marijuana growing in the community, noting that it can affect the environment around where its done, and potential health concerns. 

“So much of the bylaw enforcement and all that kind of stuff is just downloaded onto the municipalities,” argues Ackerman. “This is one time it’s unfortunate we don’t zone the train tracks.” 

City staff will research options and what other communities are doing for a future report.

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