City council has agreed to table a zoning amendment on federally licensed medical marijuana grow operations until Ottawa adopts a new regulatory framework.
In a report to council, Marvin Kwiatkowski, director of development and engineering services, that postponing a public hearing will allow residents and local officials adequate time to review the proposed regulations and submit comments. The deadline for public feedback is Feb. 28.
His report also indicated that the medical marijuana supply will be available as of April 2014.
Coun. Ken Christian said the law needs reforming, particularly since the federal government approved individual licensing without providing any resources for proper regulation or enforcement.
"I believe that streamlining it and putting it out to the private sector is a good idea," said Coun. Tina Lange. Health Canada will no longer play the decision-maker on licences; that will be a matter between physicians and patients, she noted.
She wondered, though, how the City will be able to inspect such operations when they're kept confidential. Kwiatkowski responded that the City will have that knowledge through the permitting process.
Even if the matter had gone to a public hearing and received the City's approval, the new federal laws would supercede a municipal decision, Kwiatkowski said.
Coun. Nelly Dever moved that the City send a set of questions to Health Canada on the matter, but the motion was put over until next week.