A weedy problem

Mission could spot zone for new licensed marijuana grow operations next year

Mission council stopped short of prohibiting licensed marijuana grow operations when new regulations from the federal government are introduced next April.

At the last council meeting Monday night, Mission politicians voted to prohibit licensed marijuana producing operations within the District of Mission borders, but council could consider a site specific application if the proposal benefits the taxpayers of Mission.

Planning staff will prepare another report to council outlining conditions of use, such as setbacks, which would restrict the size of the lot it can operate on and distances from day cares and schools.

Each application can be brought forward on a site specific bases, said Barclay Pitkethly, deputy director of development services, who will leave the “taxpayer benefits” to council’s discretion.

District staff sought input from council after receiving numerous inquiries from potential licensed marijuana producers. Pitkethly also noted a new federal condition requires prospective operators to notify local government, including fire and police services, of their operation.

“We haven’t been able to give then any direction about whether or not they can locate in Mission,” said Pitkethly, noting the federal government will be issuing licenses for commercial operations next year.

He also explained after April 2014, all existing licenses will be void and any left over will be turned over to the RCMP.

Coun. Jenny Stevens questioned whether any action should be taken until the new legislation is revealed, but agreed this would stop speculations.

“Doing nothing will not work and we can always revisit this,” she reasoned.

“We’re moving into a new era with the federal regulations,” commented Coun. Jeff Jewell, who suspects this is the first step to legalizing marijuana. “This is providing legal ways for those who want to get into the business, and it seems a lot of people do.”

“There could be jobs or tax revenue (for Mission),” added Coun. Tony Luck.

Nobody knows what the new law will look like, said Coun. Nelson Tilbury, the only one opposed to the move. “I want to see something that will work before we go chasing something else down the rabbit hole.”