Residents to decide fate of Kamloops’ first marijuana grow-op

MediJean cannabis plant care technician Misad Shazi sprays water on marijuana plants growing at the medical marijuana facility in Richmond, B.C., on Friday March 21, 2014.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

KAMLOOPS – Residents will have their opinions heard on a plan for a medical marijuana grow operation in the Gateway Industrial Park in Kamloops. The rezoning application goes to a public hearing tomorrow, Oct. 20. 

The city's development and engineering services director Marvin Kwiatkowski has said while others have inquired, this is the city’s first formal marijuana grow-op application.

The application is to rezone the property at 8170 Dallas Drive. It is currently zoned as industrial, and medical marijuana grow operations are only permitted in heavy industrial areas.

The city, the province and the federal government have a list of requirements which need to be met before a grow operation rezoning can be considered.

The requirements include proper ventilation to remove all offensive odours from the building, and the location be at least 150 metres from a residential zone or any place frequented by people under 18-years-old.

The property in question is situated between various industrial businesses and vacant land. City staff have determined it is 630 metres from the closest residential subdivision and 3.8 kilometres from the closest school.

Staff also say the impacts on neighbouring businesses should be minimal as the grow operation will be located in a secure, stand-alone building on a large property.

The building is currently owned by Augustus Marks who would rent it to potential proprietor Dr. Richard Brownlee. Brownlee is a Kamloops neurosurgeon and director of the Welcome Back Pain Management Centre. He said previously the grow operation is both a business opportunity and a chance to conduct research on the effectiveness of cannabis in treating chronic pain.

Brownlee is currently in the security clearance and background check phase of obtaining a licence from Health Canada to grow medical marijuana. City staff have said it is possible for the city to approve the rezoning but for Health Canada not to give the business a license.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at dreynolds@infonews.ca or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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