Calling for tighter cannabis operation rules
Hastings County has joined with Lennox and Addington counties to pressure Health Canada for stronger rules governing cannabis grow operations.
The wardens of the two counties, Warden Rick Phillips and Warden Marg Ibester have signed a joint letter to the federal and provincial governments calling for tighter controls over cannabis operations.
Warden Rick Phillips announced Thursday that there will be a chance to explain the concerns when officials from Hastings County, Quinte West and Belleville meet next week with officials of Health Canada.
The letters to provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark and Minister of Health Canada Patty Hajdu emphasize the importance of municipal rules being followed.
It reads in part: “These unlicensed operations have become a significant concern for our member municipalities both from a health and safety lens and as well as from a land use and building code situation. Our concerns are not with the licensed commercial production facilities. These facilities have become important employers and contributors to our local and regional economies. They follow the rules and respect our planning regimes. The same cannot be said for many of the operations growing for personal medical use under the certificate/registration system set up by Health Canada.”
Following the Hastings County virtual meeting on Thursday, CAO Jim Pine tells Quinte News the problem is Health Canada doesn’t share information prior to approvals.
“It’s important for Health Canada to start improving sharing information on the certificates with municipalities prior to any operations being constructed.”
Pine says, “So it’s important to put in place a fine regime that is a real deterrent. What we’re saying is in the order of $100,000 per offence.”
He added that local municipalities and police operations indicate there are a number of the cannabis grow operations in the area.
“Recent activity of t he OPP in the area tells the story well. I believe, I might be a little inaccurate, but four or five major operations in the last couple of weeks have happened in our area to shut down some of these things.”
Pine says, “It has to be nipped in the bud.”
The counties are calling on the province to establish a fine system for offences when unlicensed cannabis operations break municipal planning and environmental regulations.
The letter sets out a three-part plan from the counties, “that needs your support and assistance to implement it.”
It calls on Health Canada to improve information sharing.
The wardens call for assurance that police forces across the province and particularly the OPP have the necessary resources to monitor and take action against operations that cross the line into criminality.
Third, that the province amend legislation to establish a new Provincial Offence Act fine that creates an offence when unlicensed cannabis operations break planning and environmental regulations, ignore building code requirements and building without a permit.
For the full story check it out at 420intel.ca