PITT MEADOWS, BC – The City of Pitt Meadows is supporting the announcement by the Province last week that allows local governments to prohibit the production of cannabis on Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) properties.
With the legalization of cannabis by the federal government coming in October, cannabis production facilities are seeking agricultural land for business, and municipalities with large farming areas have expressed concerns about protecting ALR land for food production, as well as the effects of cannabis production on neighbouring properties and the community.
“The provincial regulation puts some power in the hands of local authorities to ensure that our agricultural land use aligns with our own long-term planning and priorities for ALR land,” said Mayor John Becker.
“Without clear federal regulations in place, we need to ensure there is adequate protection of our food-producing agricultural land, and that neighbouring properties and communities are not negatively impacted in terms of noise and smell.
The Province’s regulatory change, effective July 13, allows local and First Nation governments to prohibit cannabis production in the ALR, particularly “cement-based, industrial-style, cannabis-production bunkers on ALR land.” This includes large-scale, industrial buildings and structures for cannabis production. The regulation also allows local and indigenous governments to prohibit the altering of existing structures to increase the size or material used as the base of the structure. The regulatory change applies, or will apply, to licensed medical and non-medical cannabis facilities in the ALR.
The new regulation does not extend to facilities in the ALR if cannabis is grown lawfully “in an open field; in a structure that has a soil base; in a structure that was either fully constructed or under construction, with required permits in place, prior to July 13, 2018; or in an existing licensed operation.”
Mayor Becker remains concerned with the gap in local government jurisdiction.
“Having these exemptions to local government decision making leaves our community’s livability at risk through the pressure on converting existing production structures to cannabis producing,” he said.
“Plus this just creates further upwards pressure on the cost of farmland, making it that much more difficult for our food producing farmers.”