An as-yet unnamed group of investors is eyeing Kamloops as a possible head office for its medical marijuana research business.
Gordon Cory was one of two people who attended the City’s public hearing Tuesday night on a new medical marijuana grow-op bylaw that sets out strict regulations on location, security and other requirements for medical marijuana under Health Canada’s new rules.
No one from the public spoke to the proposed City bylaw that will restrict medical marijuana grow operations to general industrial or heavy industrial areas of town such as Iron Mask, Versatile, Dallas, Campbell Creek, Mission Flats and near the airport.
The new bylaw states the large-scale grow-op must be at least 150 metres away from any daycare, residential area, school, playground or other areas where children younger than 18 gather.
After the zoning bylaw passed 8-1 (Coun. Donovan Cavers voted against), Cory said his company would engage post-secondary institutions such as UBC, BCIT, the University of Guelph and Lethbridge University to study different types of cannabis and their effect on various ailments.
That kind of research hasn’t been done on cannabis before, he said.
Staff would be highly trained and the philosophy of the operation would be to look at marijuana from a medical point of view, said Cory.
City development manager Randy Lambright said two people have expressed an interest so far in starting a commercial-sized medical marijuana grow-op, but they have done so in confidence.
“We have at least two inquiries before us right now,” he said. “They are interested in pursuing and likely going through the licensing process.”
Cory couldn’t disclose all the details of his business at this stage, but said the company is looking at a network of several buildings across Canada, including possibly one in Kamloops.
City council looked at restricting medical marijuana grow operations to industrial areas last November, but put that proposal on hold until Health Canada revamped its rules.
That happened last June, with Health Canada deciding to withdraw personal medical marijuana grow licences and issuing a limited number for commercial-sized operations.
Council’s approval of industrial-zoned areas for medical marijuana grow-op sites lets the City get ahead of the issue, Lambright said.
Still, someone could go to the City with any piece of land and ask for site-specific rezoning to allow a medical marijuana grow-op, Mayor Peter Milobar noted.
Cavers said he voted against the medical marijuana grow-op bylaw because he believed it should be allowed in agricultural zones as well as industrial.
“I would have liked to have seen it permitted in agriculture zoning with some parameters,” he said.
“I think some of the security issues are a little imagined in my opinion.”