If you want to grow cannabis in New Tecumseth on a commercial level, there are rules in place regarding cannabis as an agricultural use.
The Town Zoning By-law defines all cannabis operations as a Medical Marijuana Production Facility.
This has been used to define all related cannabis operations including for medical purposes, cultivating, and processing of the plant.
Licensed growers are required to comply with all local zoning controls.
Local residents can legally grow up to four plants per residence for personal recreational use.
An interim control by-law was passed on October 1, 2020, to provide sufficient time to review and study the potential to allow and regulate cannabis operations. Currently, there is a hold on all new planning applications related to the establishment of cannabis operations in specific zones.
An Ontario wide study was presented at Monday, July 12, council meeting regarding regulations set up for cannabis operations at 11 municipalities across the province.
The study shows that most municipalities have rules regarding the setback area from roads, security fences, a prohibition of temporary structures, and mitigation measures in place to reduce light, odour, dust, transportation, and water use, that may affect nearby residents.
Retail outlets are not allowed on the same property as a cannabis operation. A recent survey by the Town asked local residents about any concerns they had regarding cannabis operations near their home. The top five concerns were odour, effect on property values, ease of approvals, general enjoyment of property, and compatibility in agricultural areas.
Council is currently working on zoning by-law that will place new regulations on operations in the Town.
Several local residents spoke the council meeting to give their thoughts on cannabis production near their properties.
On resident who lives near a growing operation said the 'smell is horrible' from 1,800 plants, and is concerned about her property dropping in value as a result.
Another resident cited 'numerous negative impacts that come with cannabis production including 'health issues, noise, and extreme odour,' and said the operation by her home is an 'illegal operation that was built on agricultural resources.' She said if council to 'move forward with allowing this use on agricultural resources, every rural resident in this town is at risk of feeling the extreme impacts.”
Two other residents involved in growing operations spoke, and said they are trying to earn a living like every other agricultural person in the area, and said their operations follow all the guidelines and they have received no complaints from nearby residents.
There was some discussion among council as to whether cannabis could be considered an agricultural crop.
The motion to receive the report was carried and will continue on with further discussion.
Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times