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Delta mayor concerned by marijuana ruling

Jackson doesn't want proliferation of grow-ops
Mayor Lois Jackson is concerned that if people are allowed to grow their own medical marijuana, it could open the door to abuses.

You'd better be careful what you're creating.

A concerned Mayor Lois Jackson had that to say about the recent ruling by a federal court judge who struck down federal regulations restricting the rights of medical marijuana patients to grow their own cannabis, giving the Liberal government six months to come up with new rules.

Judge Michael Phelan in late February ruled the regulations were an infringement on charter rights, but he suspended declaring they have no force to give the government time to come up with revised regulations. The federal government confirmed it will not appeal the ruling.

The judge stressed his ruling does not legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

Jackson said she's concerned that if people are able to grow their own pot in less controlled circumstances, it could open the door to abuses and possibly a return to the proliferation of indoor growops. Looking at any kind of potential legalization as part of the medical pot review would further complicate matters, she said. "There's so many aspects of this possible legislation and we really don't know what it's going to look like," she said.

Jackson noted that in the early 2000s Delta had its hands full with large

indoor grow-ops, especially in North Delta, where an estimated 200 to 300 were believed to have been operating at any one time.

An initiative with police called Operation Bud-Out was launched to clean up neighbourhoods.

While Delta has tried to crack down on illegal grow-ops, medical marijuana also became a hot button issue a couple of years ago when new federal rules changed how medical marijuana is grown and distributed in this country. The regulations, which have now been struck down, were aimed at allowing largerscale operations over smaller, home-based ones.

In a pre-emptive move, Delta council passed regulations prohibiting medical marijuana facilities in all zones, including agricultural, although they would be considered on a case-by-case basis. The idea was to keep any potential operations within industrial zones and two applications were approved for those areas.

"We do not want it grown on the agricultural lands and taking up agricultural land from food production," Jackson said.

"We have to be careful what we create. I'm not a scientist, I'm not a doctor. We have to wait for legislation first and we'll have to proceed from there. I really hope it's going to be something of a positive nature rather than creating something we will be taking exception to," she added.