(Photo: Unsplash)

EDITORIAL: Cannabis is here to stay; but how?

Regardless of how the ACRD scenario plays out, cannabis is a growing industry…

Debate over a proposal for a large cannabis production facility in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District has forced ACRD board members to take a step back and examine their fairly new cannabis bylaws.

The board last week directed staff to amend a zoning bylaw so it will prevent new cement-based buildings meant for cannabis production from being built anywhere within the ACRD. The direction comes after Sproat Lake and Great Central Lake residents objected to a proposal from Wild Coast Canna to build a 377,000-square-foot building for indoor cannabis production, as well as 50 acres of outdoor production.

The decision will allow the ACRD to examine its bylaws surrounding cannabis and how the bylaws will affect people in all zones of the ACRD.

It is clear, after much discussion between residents, the company and the board, that this is a necessary step.

The ACRD is the only regional district in the area with rules loose enough to allow large-scale production anywhere besides industrial areas, which makes it a magnet for cannabis producers.

It is unfortunate that a company with a vision but no land to fulfill it, and a landowner with land they want to sell are now caught in the middle of this debate.

Part of the problem lies in the fact that the provincial government keeps moving the goalposts when it comes to rules surrounding cannabis production and sales. The ACRD after public consultation adopted new cannabis bylaws in the fall of 2018 as the federal government was poised to legalize marijuana (now called the more politically correct “cannabis”). They didn’t want to be caught with nothing in place.

The board did not anticipate anyone would be interested in large-scale cannabis production in its backyard, and it’s coming back to bite them.

Even if the ACRD board votes to put a moratorium on bunker-style cement buildings for now, the Agricultural Land Commission has stated outdoor grow operations and those taking place in greenhouse-style buildings are permitted uses on agricultural land. The ACRD will not be able to prevent those types of cannabis production.

Regardless of how the ACRD scenario plays out, cannabis is a growing industry. There is widespread interest in the crop as an economic driver—the first legal cannabis shop in the Alberni Valley opened over the Labour Day weekend on Tseshaht First Nation land, and others are coming—and there needs to be a place for it as we move forward.

Alberni Valley News

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photographer captures Port Alberni personalities in black and white portraits

Meet John Douglas, Courtney Naesgaard in double exhibit Jan. 18 at Rollin Art Centre

Alberni Valley Community Foundation opens grant application process for 2020

Nearly $30K available for Port Alberni-based charities

Stray cat with ‘serious burns’ recovering at Alberni SPCA

The BC SPCA’s Alberni-Clayoquot branch is asking members of the public for help with medical costs

B.C. government puts kibosh on drag racing at Alberni Valley Regional Airport

AVDRA was hopeful for a three-year temporary contract to race at the airport

Wet, white and windy winter weather hits Port Alberni

Snow expected to turn to rain on Thursday

VIDEO: Cold snap brings ideal conditions for Okanagan icewine

Take an inside look at how icewine is made

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

Blue Monday is a myth but seasonal affective disorder and the winter blues are real

Canadian Mental Health Association says weather can affect mood

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Most Read