City council will hear Tuesday night what residents think about a proposed bylaw restricting medical marijuana grow operations to specifically zoned parts of town.
A public hearing on the City’s proposed bylaw is slated for council chambers at 7 p.m.
Medical marijuana licencee and advocate Carl Anderson said Monday he disagrees with the federal policy forcing sick people to buy their medical marijuana rather than growing it themselves.
City council should be pressuring Ottawa to legalize cannabis “not be going after sick people for the medical marijuana they need for their health and well being,” he said.
Anderson is fluctuating between going to the public hearing to state his view or skipping it outright because he doesn’t feel he’ll be able to make any difference.
In 2011, Anderson was running a compassion club out of a storefront, which he had as a licensed business with the City. He was selling medical marijuana products, however, which was not permitted.
The RCMP raided the shop, confiscated the equipment and ordered an inspection for molds, electrical problems and other possible issues. Anderson said the inspection cost him $12,000 and it found nothing.
He wasn’t sure whether other medical marijuana licence holders would attend.
“They’re afraid to even let the City know who they are. They’re afraid the City’s coming after them, they’ll get kicked out of their homes and spend $12,000 on remediation before they can step into their own house. Even though they had a federal licence,” he said.
The City’s proposed bylaw calls for medical marijuana operations to be restricted to indoors, in buildings with proper ventilation located away from schools, day cares, residences and other places where kids might be.
The grows will only be allowed in industrial or heavy industrial zones and are subject to several other regulations.
Anderson isn’t happy with the plan.
“I’ve looked it over. I’m just disgusted. It’s bothering me pretty badly,” he said.
The problem is, the federal government gave people licences for home growing and didn’t tell them how to do it safely. Municipalities have never stepped in to make sure they had proper ventilation or other measures before growing, he said.
He said one big-scale grower, Prairie Plant Systems, is the only federally licensed medical marijuana producer in the country so far and its product is not up to par.
Anderson estimated he can grow medical marijuana for about 50 cents a gram; to buy it through Prairie Plant Systems would cost him $9 to $13 per gram, plus shipping and taxes.
“It’s like having a cow in your back yard for milk for your kids and the government saying you have to kill that cow and buy it off us for $100 a gallon.”