New rules would restrict smelly grow ops

New rules would restrict smelly grow ops

Township hopes to use anti-regulation to control legal marijuana growing

The Township of Langley is taking another stab at restricting legal marijuana grow operations within municipal boundaries, this time going after growers over the smell from their operations.

The new rules won preliminary approval Monday.

They would allow the Township and the RCMP to fine smelly grow-ops $500 a day for the nuisance.

A staff report says the Township has a legal opinion that going after growers over odours “is unlikely to raise a constitutional challenge” because it doesn’t order growers to quit, but only insists that they install filters.

The report says there are an estimated 600 legal marijuana grow-ops in Langley operating under designated-person production licences.

Those licences were supposed to be eliminated  under a federal government switch to large commercial grow-ops instead of many small growers in April, but that has been held up by a Supreme Court challenge.

Last year, a Langley Township bylaw that would restrict medicinal marijuana cultivation to industrial areas and ban it altogether on farmland was rejected by the provincial government.

The Township was informed of the decision in a letter from Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick, who said he would not approve banning medical marijuana growing in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), which covers 75 per cent of the Township’s 316 square kilometres.

That came after the Agricultural Land Commission  (ALC), the provincial agency that regulates farmland, issued an information bulletin on marijuana production that said the pot crops are “consistent with the definition of farm use … and as such is an allowed use.”

There are at least 19 proposed commercial grow-ops in the Township, most of them to be located in the ALR.

The new rules will come back to council for final approval at another date.