RM of Edenwold denies cannabis production permit

·2 min read

A proposed cannabis-production facility got a prescription from Dr. No as the RM of Edenwold rejected a request for a discretionary use permit by a 4-3 margin on Nov. 17.

The proposal from Cameron Family Farms had been tabled over several council meetings while the Camerons sought to address council’s concerns over the project as well as earn local support from area residents for their proposal.

While council had approved other cannabis production proposals previously, RM councillors balked at this one when a letter signed by more than 15 residents indicated many of the Cameron’s neighbours opposed the proposed greenhouse be used for growing cannabis. In response to that opposition, the Camerons say they sent a letter to their opponents, offering answers to their concerns.

“We heard nothing back,” Ian Cameron said. “We refrained from going to visit them because of COVID. Nobody has gotten back to us with any of their concerns, but we did go to them with factual information rather than opinion. I did want people to know it’s a greenhouse, not a retail operation. It’s a greenhouse, and what we plant in there is a controlled product for which we are subject to licensing, regulation and security, for which of course we would abide by all of the laws.”

Reeve Mitchell Huber noted there was opposition to the project and said he had advocated that the Camerons go to their neighbours to address their concerns.

“With the backlash as it was, council gets hesitant to give the discretionary permit because we try not to play God,” Huber said. “That’s a bit of a strong statement, but we’d rather see more harmony over the long term. You are right in that it would have been more invasive to start a cattle operation out there.”

Councillor Craig Strudwick said while he personally did not have an issue with the Camerons’ cannabis plan, he had to take into account the area residents who came out in force to oppose it. For that reason, his was one of the four votes defeating the discretionary use application.

After addressing council but prior to the vote denying his application, Cameron indicated there may still be some use for the facility.

“Obviously we have built the greenhouse and have been at this for a while,” Cameron said. “If we don’t put (cannabis) in there, we’ll put something else in there that’s not so regulated because we have (already) built the facility.”

Keith Borkowsky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Quad Town Forum