City residents to have their say on medical marijuana plant

Dave Stewart
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Charottetown Mayor Clifford Lee looks over some paperwork during the regular meeeting of city council Monday night. 

The City of Charlottetown may be paving the way for the province's first medical marijuana production facility.

Council voted unanimously (9-0, Coun. Eddie Rice was not present for the vote) to proceed to the public consultation phase to consider an amendment to the city's zoning and development bylaw.

Such an amendment would add a definition for medical marijuana production facility. The resolution also stipulated that a medical marijuana production facility could only be built in a heavy industrial zone or a business park industrial zone, such as the bio-commons park in the former neighbourhood of West Royalty.

"We didn't do anything yet,'' cautioned resolution mover Coun. Rob Lantz, chairman of the planning committee. "We just decided that we will take the issue to public consultation to see if we'll amend the bylaw.''

The federal government launched a $1.3 billion free market in medical marijuana last fall. Health Canada is phasing out an older system that mostly relied on small-scale, homegrown medical marijuana of varying quality, often diverted illegally to the black market.

Under new federal legislation, large indoor marijuana farms certified by the RCMP and health inspectors will produce, package and distribute a range of standardized weed, all of it sold for whatever price the market will bear. The first sales took place this past October, delivered directly by secure courier.

Lantz said this step by council is in response to the changes made federally.

"We're not in receipt of any kind of application for one of these facilities here but I have heard rumours that, perhaps, there is someone interested and who is in discussion with the federal government about the possibility of doing that here so we need to be prepared to have a bylaw that regulates these kinds of facilities if, in fact, we do receive an application.''

Health Canada is placing no limits on the number of these new capital-intensive facilities, which will have mandatory vaults and security systems. Private-dwelling production will be banned. Imports from places such as the Netherlands will be allowed.

"There is a perfectly legal use under federal regulation,'' Lantz said. "We did discuss the types of areas where these types of facilities would be appropriate.

"The bio-commons is probably a logical place or any industrial area. In the bio-commons (area), there are all kinds of facilities out there that produce bio-active ingredients of one sort or another, maybe not so different from medical marijuana.''

Canada is in the midst of a transitional period with the federal regulations as Health Canada phases out the old system by March 31, while encouraging medical marijuana users to register under the replacement regime and to start buying from the new factory-farms. As of October, there were 37,400 medical marijuana users across the country recognized by the department but officials project that number will swell more than 10-fold, to as many as 450,000 people, by 2024.

The profit potential is enormous. A gram of dried marijuana bud on the street sells for about $10 and Health Canada projects the legal stuff will average about $7.60 this year, as producers set prices without interference from government.

"I view it as an economic development opportunity for the city if, in fact, something like this comes along so we need to be able to deal with it from our zoning and development bylaw perspective,'' the councillor said.

(With files by The Canadian Press)

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

 

Organizations: Health Canada, RCMP

Geographic location: Charlottetown, West Royalty, Netherlands Canada

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Recent comments

  • Trish1964
    January 14, 2014 - 16:04

    My only concern with Government having their fingers in this , is that it will end up like tobacco which may I remind everyone was a natural herb until big tobacco companies got involved . the Government allowed them to put all those extra chemicals in cigarettes and now look where we are . I do not use drugs and never have but I know lots of People who have my Big Brother died from an accidental overdose but it wasn't pot that he over dosed on it was much nastier legal drugs that killed him. I am in support of legalizing marijuana for the simple fact that it is a natural herb and has many medicinal uses , I would however hate to see the same thing happen to it that happened to tobacco

  • Stompin' Tom
    January 14, 2014 - 15:26

    "It's Bud the Blunt from the bright red mud..." This could be good for the PEI economy.

  • carla morgan
    January 14, 2014 - 12:08

    Taking 6 months to get permission for medical marijuana when you are on chemo of 6 month duration is ridiculous. Laws need to change drastically and quickly.

  • Common sense
    January 14, 2014 - 06:50

    Not sure why I am taking part as I expect the comments are going to be ridiculously ignorant. Just feel the need to point out that medical marijuana is not that easy to get, it is a tax revenue source, and it's not what "druggies" use. It's for people suffering through chemo and other awful things. Recreationally it is no worse than alcohol. Do a small percentage of users have issues? Sure, as do some alcohol drinkers. But most users are regular people. Besides, this article is just about the potential to produce, nothing more.

  • Dm
    January 14, 2014 - 02:52

    Studies have shown that in places that legalized drugs Totally overdose stats never change much, weed has also been proven not be be a gateway drug that you make it out to be don, hopefully you don't actually think someone could of on weed as well, keeping weed illegal makes millions everyday for organized crime vote liberal in the next federal election if you care about that Don.

    • Michael
      February 08, 2014 - 19:54

      Din, not exactly true, Portugal has decriminalized cannabis for 13 years now and the use of hard drug has declined by half, Google it,

    • Michael
      February 08, 2014 - 20:01

      Portugal has had cannabis decriminalized for the last 13 years and according to their studies, hard drug use has dropped by half, Google it,

  • Steven Weedper
    January 14, 2014 - 00:14

    Its funny that they require a big vault for the Harper Government weed when the same plants grow right out in the open all across the Island. Can't blame anyone but the Harper government for bringing industrialized Marihuana to Canada. It will be even funnier when the Justin govt legalizes all drugs and the industrialists can lock their money up in the vault where it belongs and let the weed grow and be used out in the light of day where it belongs.

    • Trish1964
      January 14, 2014 - 16:18

      I don't even like using the word industrialized and Marijuana in the same sentence makes me cringe . Look what happened to Tobacco when Industry got involved in it shutter shutter !!!

  • don
    January 13, 2014 - 22:50

    if you say yes you will have every druggie getting a card. why not just make all drugs legal then the more druggies that over doses the better. but i guess with an election coming and more druggies then non druggies you will get the druggies vote.

    • Island Grrrrl
      January 14, 2014 - 06:44

      Please get your fact straight before commenting. It is virtually impossible to overdose on marijuana. In fact, research shows that NO deaths are attributable to the substance. As for "every druggie getting a card", the process to obtain a marijuana license through Health Canada is rigorous and quite involved. Many people rely on medical marijuana for a whole slew of medical conditions ranging from chronic pain, to anxiety and the terrible nausea associated with chemotherapy. Why not have a medical marijuana production facility on PEI. Lord knows our economy could use a boost

    • randy campbell
      January 14, 2014 - 06:45

      Yep - and then the money will go to honest tax paying citizens as opposed to people that traffic humans/sell harder drugs/don't pay taxes. … Also - if you think alcohol is better than marijuana - you are wrong. When was the last time you saw someone get violent because they were stoned on pot? When was the last time you saw someone get violent because they were drunk? EVERY WEEK! Domestic violence, downtown post-bar fights, drunk driving…

    • AS
      January 14, 2014 - 07:52

      Yes because the only people that would be looking to purchase medical marijuana would be druggies. What about people with cancer, chronic pain, etc that need it to maintain a normal happy life?! It's not about people with addictions and there are far harsher drugs than pot that we on the Island need to worry about. It's not the people smoking pot breaking into homes, cars, businesses, it's perscription drugs. Give your head a shake.

    • AS
      January 14, 2014 - 07:53

      Yes because the only people that would be looking to purchase medical marijuana would be druggies. What about people with cancer, chronic pain, etc that need it to maintain a normal happy life?! It's not about people with addictions and there are far harsher drugs than pot that we on the Island need to worry about. It's not the people smoking pot breaking into homes, cars, businesses, it's perscription drugs. Give your head a shake.

    • fenarfin
      January 14, 2014 - 07:59

      overdose ... pot ... you must be smoking too much of the stuff yourself.

    • sammy
      January 14, 2014 - 09:11

      are u on drugs or what? it is coming .. like it or not... contracts have or will be shortly by the feds been awarded