The decision by the provincial government to exclude federally-licensed medical marijuana production from the list of agricultural uses that qualify for farm classification for tax purposes is being called “welcome” by Central Saanich Mayor Alastair Bryson.
“It is a welcome decision, since it ensures that any licensed medicinal marijuana facilities which are located on industrial lands will be taxed fairly by being prevented from qualifying for farm classification,” said Bryson in an interview with the PNR.
“Also, the taxes on operations located within the Agricultural Land Reserve, as allowed by the Agricultural Land Commission, will better reflect the industrial character of the facilities,” he said.
The province has said the decision will ensure local governments do not lose potential property tax revenues from the Health Canada licensed-production facilities. The approach, they say, is consistent with the one being taken in Alberta.
A building recently constructed on Lochside Drive in Central Saanich houses a legal marijuana grow operation run by Evergreen Medicinal Supply Incorporated.
“The Government of British Columbia will also continue to view medical-marijuana production as an allowable farm use within the Agricultural Land Reserve that should not be prohibited by local government bylaws,” said a release sent out by the government last week.
Federal regulations for medical marijuana came into effect on April 1 but the exclusion from farm classification for property tax purposes will take effect for property assessments in the 2015 taxation year.