Neighbours of a massive new medical marijuana operation in rural Langley came to Township council Monday to complain about the smell, noise, and excessive light.
“I live in South Aldergrove, right near the world’s largest grow op,” said Doug Bilesky, speaking for a group of neighbours in the audience.
Bilesky said Canopy Growth’s facility in a greenhouse on 264th Street near the U.S. border has more than 200,000 cannabis plants now and is still expanding.
Aside from odours and lights, he said the owners were recently coating the greenhouse’s roof with chalk dust from a helicopter at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
He wanted the council to call on Premier John Horgan for a moratorium on more industrial grow operations.
Mayor Jack Froese noted that the Agricultural Land Commission has already overturned a Township bylaw drafted several years ago that would have limited medical marijuana growing to industrial land.
“According to the Agricultural Land Commission, they’re allowed to grow on farm land,” Froese said.
One of the problems, said Coun. Charlie Fox, is that farming is regulated in B.C. based on “best farming practices.”
“There is no best practice in growing cannabis, unfortunately, because it just arrived,” Fox said.
He, Froese, and Coun. Bob Long brought up the issue of odours at a recent Metro Vancouver meeting, as Metro Vancouver regulates air quality, Fox said.
“Metro Vancouver is extremely concerned,” Fox said.
Long put forward a motion, which was unanimously approved, for the Township to write to Horgan and Agriculture Minister Lana Popham asking for a moratorium on cannabis production on agricultural land until the province consults with farmers, municipal governments, industry, and the public.
In the past, Metro Vancouver has regulated the odours of mushroom composting operations, though under right-to-farm laws municipal governments have been unable to ban composting outright.
The Advance is attempting to contact representatives of Canopy Growth for comment.