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BC: Pitt Bans Medicinal Grow-ops

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Since the City of Pitt Meadows passed a bylaw in July 2010 stating that marijuana can't be grown in the City or as a farming operation, the result has been anticlimactic.

But Pitt Meadows Mayor Don MacLean said, "it's one of those things that if nothing happens, it's good."

The mayor said that he has not received any negative comments since passing the bylaw, adding, "I think the people that legitimately need marijuana for their illness are receiving it."

Medical marijuana is permitted by Health Canada for anyone with a serious illness and it can be prescribed by a doctor for anyone to either obtain it from Health Canada, grow their own, or designate someone to grow it on their behalf.

But on July 23, Pitt Meadows council decided to amend their bylaw to ensure that marijuana cannot be grown as an agricultural activity or a home-based business.

This includes licences from Health Canada permitting people to grow marijuana for the use of other people.

The City needed to define agriculture as excluding grow-operations, as the current definition was broad enough to possibly include medicinal marijuana.

While growing marijuana for other people is licensed by the federal government, municipal zoning regulations still apply.

"When requested, police sometimes provide input and consultation in the drafting of any new laws, but elected officials have that official mandate," said RCMP Superintendent Dave Walsh.

Council was particularly concerned about the threat of fires and grow rips associated with grow-ops located in residential areas.

Pitt Meadows fire chief Don Jolley said in July that the department has responded to multiple fires at illegal marijuana production sites, including two large fires in the past 12 months, but not to any at a permitted marijuana production facility.

Council was also concerned about operations that claimed to be growing for individual or medical use, but were in fact growing on a much larger scale.

"When we have an industrial operation, [which is] commercial in scale," said MacLean, "obviously we had situations where people were growing [pot] for general sale."

He said he believed it was the right bylaw for the time.

When asked if he would vote the same way five months later, the mayor responded "in a heartbeat."

"Ridge Meadows RCMP support both of our mayors and councils, as they support our office," said Supt. Walsh. "As is the case with any law, our office will enforce the by-law, and investigate any infractions reported to us."

NewsHawk: Jim Behr: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Maple Ridge Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2011 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc
Contact: editorial@mrtimes.com
Website: Maple Ridge Times
Details: MAP: Media Directory
Author: Amy Judd
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