North Cowichan is looking at allowing micro-cannabis production in some of its commercial areas. (file photo)

North Cowichan is looking at allowing micro-cannabis production in some of its commercial areas. (file photo)

North Cowichan looks to smaller pot operations

Micro-marijuana facilities will be allowed in some commercial zones

North Cowichan is considering allowing smaller marijuana production facilities to set up in some of its commercial areas.

“Micro-cannabis” production facilities are only allowed up to 200 square metres of space for production, much smaller than standard and much larger production operations which are typically around 14,000 square metres.

At the council meeting on March 6, staff were instructed to bring forward a more detailed report and develop a draft zoning amendment for council to consider to allow micro-cannabis production facilities on properties zoned C3, which allows for such other uses as automotive repair shops, major equipment repair operations and service stations.

Coun. Tek Manhas said he attended a meeting on March 1, co-hosted by the Cascadia Agricultural Co-Op Association and Grow Tech Labs, to help create a small cannabis producers and processors co-operative in B.C.

RELATED STORY: MEETING ON FRIDAY TO DISCUSS ESTABLISHING MARIJUANA COOPERATIVE

“More than 100 people attended the meeting, so there is a huge interest in [smaller marijuana-producing facilities] locally,” he said.

In a report to council, North Cowichan community planner Mairi Bosomworth said MCPFs are intended to make obtaining a licence more accessible to small-scale, local businesses as standard licences are mainly intended for much larger operations, with higher barriers to entry.

“These standard licensed facilities are typically owned by corporations headquartered outside the municipality, province, or even country,” Bosomworth said.

“Supplementary benefits to zoning for micro-cannabis facilities include both sales and income tax revenue, the creation of local jobs and reducing illicit pot producers which, in turn, reduces the need for police and enforcement services.”

Since the legalization of recreational pot across Canada last October, the municipality has seen an influx of inquiries related to establishing non-medical pot production facilities.

Council gave the first two readings in January to a bylaw amendment that would allow recreational pot production in North Cowichan’s industrial zones for the first time.

RELATED STORY: NORTH COWICHAN LOOKS TO UPDATE REGULATIONS ON MARIJUANA PRODUCTION

There are currently two medical marijuana production facilities operating in industrial-zoned areas of North Cowichan.

Bosomworth said, given that the federal and provincial governments have developed stringent licensing requirements, it’s unlikely that MCPFs will be more disruptive than uses currently permitted in commercial areas zoned C3.

“These requirements have been amended since the legalization of marijuana in consideration of the sensitivities and perceived implications related to this market,” she said.

“The goal of these requirements is to have minimal impacts and nuisances to adjacent properties, and the community as a whole.”

Bosomworth said the municipality has received inquiries from prospective applicants for properties zoned both industrial and commercial to grow marijuana, with more of these inquiries in industrial areas.

“However, it is difficult to predict the interest in C3 properties,” she said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes confirms first death from COVID-19

Shelter-in-place order has been extended to Feb. 5

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

Christopher Anthony Craig Dick is wanted by the Port Alberni RCMP in connection to multiple investigations. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Vancouver Island RCMP seek man connected to assault investigations

Christopher Dick, 36, was recently in the North Cowichan and Duncan region

The Farm Table Inn is one of almost two dozen local restaurants and beverage producers participating in Tourism Cowichan’s “Sip, Savour, Support Cowichan” campaign. Pictured are owners George gates and Evelyn Koops. (Alec Wheeler photo)
Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Shown is Quality Foods at 319 Island Highway in Parksville. The Island-based grocery chain announced on Jan. 25 it made a $2-per-hour pay premium, implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, permanent. (Mandy Moraes photo)
COVID-19: Quality Foods makes $2-per-hour employee pay premium permanent

Island-based grocery chain had extended increase twice in 2020

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

Most Read