Metro seeks protection for ALR from pot

The Metro Vancouver board recently voted in favour of calling on the provincial government to protect farmland for food production by not allowing recreational cannabis operations to set up shop in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The regional board is also asking the province to allow local governments to oversee cannabis production and distribution in their industrial areas, under guidance of the provincial and federal legislation.

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The region outlined a number of concerns including air quality, odour, the location of commercial facilities on agricultural land and potential environmental impacts.

Back in 2014, when there was no consideration of legalizing of recreational pot by the Conservatives who still at the helm in Ottawa, the Metro board took the position that medical marijuana production should not be recognized as an approved farm use and should not be permitted on ALR land. At the time, such production facilities were considered by the region to be more akin to other pharmaceutical production.

The Lower Mainland Local Government Association in May endorsed a motion put forward by Delta that the province be requested to prohibit or place restrictions on the use of ALR land for cannabis cultivation. That resolution will be forwarded to the UBCM in September.

Delta’s Agricultural Advisory Committee recently agreed it supported Delta’s position of not supporting the growing of cannabis on farmland both in the ALR and outside the farm reserve. However, citing a lack of clarity, the committee didn’t go so far as to support a resolution by Central Saanich Municipal Council, which called for a six-month moratorium.

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