Odour complaint from neighbour of licensed marijuana grower put before Halifax council

Click to play video: 'Halifax councillor speaks out for resident living beside licensed marijuana grower' Halifax councillor speaks out for resident living beside licensed marijuana grower
WATCH ABOVE: Councillor Reg Rankin is asking Halifax council for a staff report on the bylaws and regulations surrounding medical marijuana grow operations and their effects on neighbouring properties. The issue stems from a resident in his district who lives next door to a licensed grower and is complaining about the odours. Rebecca Lau reports – Feb 15, 2016

It’s legal to grow marijuana if you have a licence, but is it fair to your neighbours?

Halifax councillor Reg Rankin, who represents Timberlea-Beechville-Clayton Park West, will ask regional council on Tuesday for a staff report on the adequacy of bylaws and regulations that deal with medical marijuana grow operations and their effect on neighbouring properties.

The issue stems from a homeowner in his district, who lives in a semi-detached home that shares a wall with a neighbour who has a licence to grow medical marijuana.

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Rankin, who has visited the home, says there are strong odours and the residents are concerned about their health.

“This is a semi-detached, a common wall…so smell, odours can easily permeate walls,” he said.

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“It’s not pleasant. They’re living with it constantly and…I think we need to address it.”

The federal government was poised to bring in new rules in 2014 that would force patients to buy medical marijuana from licensed growers, meaning patients would not have been allowed to grow plants in their own homes.

However, those regulations were challenged in court and there is currently an injunction, which has allowed patients with licences to continue to grow their own medical marijuana.

“Do we have to put up with odours and affluence from plants and smoking?” said Rankin.

“And for the ones that are doing it? Are they free to do what they want anytime? Have the intensity of their operations any time of the day? So, these are important questions.”

Rankin says there are also concerns that having the grow operation next door could affect property values, since it is something realtors would be compelled to share with prospective buyers.

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Denise MacDonell, a realtor with Red Door Realty, agrees having a licensed medical marijuana grow operation in an adjoining home could affect the value of a property.

“In no way am I suggesting it is not legitimate. Obviously people with these licences have them because they need treatment for an illness,” MacDonell said.

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“But it would still be something in a buyer’s market where you have a lot of choice, it might send you to the semi one street over that doesn’t have the issue.”

However, medical marijuana supporters disagree with the concerns voiced by Rankin and the homeowner.

“There is no danger associated with the smell of growing cannabis. It hasn’t been burnt, it’s not smoke, so there’s no high going to come from it, no negative effect,” said Chris Backer, the vice-chair of Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana Society (MUMM).

“It’s the smell of growing. It’s the smell of green. It’s no different than growing cucumbers or tomatoes at this point.”

Backer says he and fellow members of MUMM plan to be at council on Tuesday when Rankin brings forward his motion, so they can voice their opposition.

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