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Potential pot production prompts public participation

The public will soon get a say in how they feel about a medical marihuana production facility on the surplus airport lands, after council voted unanimously to move forward with the public hearing process.

During their regular meeting last night (Monday), council received a report by Planning and Development Director Phil Markin, outlining what is being requested, what that would entail for the city, and what regulations Health Canada has in place to regulate this sort of undertaking (see the full report in the city council agenda package at http://www.castlegar.ca/pdfs/regular_agenda_16-Oct-2017.pdf on Page 53).

Markin was careful to explain the developer (whose name is not currently available) is looking to build a legal and Health-Canada-licensed facility at 195 Highway 3/3A and 169/179 Hughes Road.

“All applications to become a licensed producer of cannabis for medical purposes undergo a strict and thorough review,” Markin wrote. “The airport lands properties have a lot area of 15. 78 HA (39 acres) and 1.57 HA (3.88 acres) respectively.”

City water and sanitary services are already available in the area, he added, explaining the development would require rezoning, but fits with the city’s Official Community Plan in terms of optimal use of the lands in question.

In addressing the potential social impacts, Markin quoted a paper byMohammad Hajizadeh, School of Health Administration, Dalhousie University, Halifax, as follows:

“The high demand for marijuana in Canada has resulted in the expansion of the black market and puts the power in the hands of illegal drug dealers to be the sole providers of the product with no accountability. By taking control of the distribution of marijuana, legalization could reduce the flourishing black market for the drug, which is the cause for a large amount of illegal activity in Canada as indicated by the rate of police-reported marijuana offences. Legalization can address some of the social problems associated with the black market for marijuana such as unsafe environments created by the illegal distribution of the drug and the negative consequences of criminal labeling for possession of small amounts of marijuana. “

Watch The Source for the date and details of the upcoming public hearing regarding the matter.