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Halifax council amends bylaw to address cannabis production facilities

Growing flowers of cannabis intended for the medical marijuana market are shown at OrganiGram in Moncton, N.B., on April 14, 2016.
Growing flowers of cannabis intended for the medical marijuana market are shown at OrganiGram in Moncton, N.B., on April 14, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ron Ward

With legalization set to come into effect in little less than a month Halifax Regional Council continues to tweak its bylaws to address legal cannabis.

Tuesday night saw council hold a public hearing as they looked at amendments to a land-use bylaw that would accommodate cannabis production facilities.

The amendments came from a staff report which proposed zoning changes.

Industrial zones are recommended for cultivation or processing plants with no size limit as well as micro-facilities which can process a maximum of 600 kg of dried cannabis a year.

Rural-mixed zones that allow industrial uses can also be used while rural mixed zones that do not allow industrial uses will permit only micro-facilities.

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Jamie Tingley from Cow Bay, N.S., was among seven speakers and asked Councillors to consider some smaller farms that fall into a rural suburban category to be considered for growing purposes.

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“I have a 40 acre plot, so it’s not very urban, Cow Bay is mixed use at the moment,” said Tingley.

Tingley said he already sells vegetables at the Alderney Farmer’s market and said there should be room for farmers to be able to grow marijuana in a more natural environment than the big industrial farms.

“This is not urban, I have a farm already.”

Councillors ultimately voted unanimously in favour of the amendments to the bylaw.

Bill Karsten, councillor for Dartmouth South-Eastern Passage, said the idea of micro-facilities in Cow Boy could be explored more in the future.

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“It makes a lot of sense to allow those of us who are entrepreneurs among us which certainly years ago before council I was considered to be part of the entrepreneurial spirit in the province to give them the opportunity, so it’s not something I would turn a blind eye too.,” said Karsten.

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He added though that consultations would need to be had with residents in Cow Bay before anything could happen, and they would likely have to hold a separate public hearing on the issue.

“My hands were tied to be able to do anything tonight,” said Karsten.