Kelowna city council consistent in turning down application for medical marijuana grow op | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna city council consistent in turning down application for medical marijuana grow op

FILE PHOTO - 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
October 01, 2018 - 4:44 PM

KELOWNA - Citing the need to be consistent, Kelowna city council followed staff’s recommendation today and turned down its first ever application for a medical marijuana production facility.

“This is not a question of a concrete floor,” Coun. Luke Stack said. “It’s a question of whether we want an industrial facility in agricultural land.”

Council worked hard in the past to draft policies that restrict medical marijuana facilities to industrial land, Stack said. The majority of council agreed today, Oct. 1, that they needed to be consistent with their earlier decision, especially since this could set a precedent

Community Planning supervisor Laura Bentley noted that approving the application could affect the value of agricultural property, now worth about $100,000 per acre vs. $1 million per acre for industrial land.

Earlier this year Marlys Wolfe got approval from Health Canada to build a concrete floored building on her farm on Rifle Road near Longhill Road. That permit was for that site only and would have led to a certificate to grow and process medical marijuana.

But that ran afoul of the city’s prior ruling that such facilities could only be on industrial land. It also runs contrary to provincial rules that, in the Agricultural Land Reserve, cannabis can only be grown outdoors in soil or in a dirt floored building.

“My concern is that a blanket policy that’s in the best interest of food security and so forth is overriding the interests of an individual farmer,” Evan Cooke said, speaking on behalf of the applicant. “The actual area to be used is a very small percentage of the property.”

He noted the building is proposed for what is currently a gravel parking area where no crops can be grown.

Cooke asked for the city to pass the application on to the Agricultural Land Commission so Wolfe could lobby at that level to an exception to the provincial regulations.

After 90 minutes of discussion, council voted 7-2 to reject the application, with councillors Charlie Hodge and Brad Sieben opposed.

Falcon Ridge Farms already grows vegetables, fruit and echinacea as well as producing honey, tea, vinegars and other health products.

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