Saanich residents will have the opportunity to voice their concerns about allowing the production of cannabis in the District by the end of the year. Saanich council unanimously voted to move forward and put the issue to the public at Monday night’s council meeting. Saanich still does not allow the production or sale of recreational cannabis in the District.
Coun. Ned Taylor said cannabis was partly legalized to reduce the amount of black market product Canadians are growing, so now it’s legal, its time to look at appropriate places to grow it. “We don’t want all our farms that are used for food production to just be switched over to cannabis production, so it’s important we identify areas that are appropriate for the production of cannabis,” Taylor said.
He also said the council is looking into allowing legal cannabis stores to operate in the area. “I don’t have any concerns with allowing legal cannabis stores to operate in Saanich in appropriate areas in the future, it’s a legal substance now, so it doesn’t make sense to have residents getting in their cars and driving all the way downtown and back to buy cannabis products,” Taylor said.
Saanich council initially put forward three options for legalizing the production of cannabis: amend the zoning bylaw to permit cannabis production only on industrial “M” zoned land, amend the bylaw to permit the production of cannabis on all “A” zoned rural lands, or do nothing which would only permit the production of cannabis as a farm on Agricultural Land Reserve lands.
The first option, amending the zoning bylaw to permit cannabis production only on industrial “M” zoned land is the one that has been recommended by District staff and will be discussed at the public hearing.