Proposed ban on commercial grow-ops will go to public hearing

Abbotsford council is seeking to ban medical marijuana operations in the city

The city of Abbotsford is seeking to ban commercial grow operations in the city.

The city of Abbotsford is seeking to ban commercial grow operations in the city.

The city’s plan to ban commercial medical marijuana grow-ops in Abbotsford will go to public hearing on Dec. 9.

Health Canada has changed its regulations, ending licences to grow medical marijuana in residential homes in favour of creating commercial operations that will both grow and distribute the product.

But Abbotsford council is considering keeping all commercial grow-ops out of city limits.

Council will vote on two zoning bylaw amendments, one to prohibit commercial grow-ops in all non-farmland city zones, and another to ban them on farmland, which will require approval from the province.

Chilliwack plans to allow the commercial grow-ops in specially zoned areas that host industries like slaughterhouses, asphalt manufacturers and sewage treatment plants.

George Murray, Abbotsford’s city manager, said that the city is under time restraints to ban marijuana crops on farmland in Abbotsford, or else lose the opportunity when the regulations change. He said that the city’s legal counsel had advised staff to ban grow-ops across Abbotsford and seek ministerial approval, and maintain the option of changing the zoning in the future.

A report from Abbotsford city staff states that they have already received notifications from four firms interested in operating commercial grow-ops.