B.C. cities get new powers to regulate pot in ALR

The rules will allow local governments to ban some types of pot cultivation.

Local governments will have more control over marijuana production under new rules announced Friday morning by the provincial government.

“This is a big change,” said Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese shortly after seeing the announcement from Victoria.

The change, which takes effect immediately, allows local and First Nations governments to ban “industrial-style” cannabis production in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

It appears to give communities like Langley Township the authority to ban concrete-floored greenhouses or enclosed bunker-style buildings for pot production.

“It looks promising, but I don’t think it’s going to do much to resolve the issues we already have,” said Councillor Kim Richter, who is running for mayor this fall.

Langley Township recently asked the premier and minister of agriculture for a moratorium on cannabis production on agricultural land, until Victoria consulted with farmers, municipal governments, industry, and the public.

That came in the wake of complaints from neighbours of one of the country’s largest legal marijuana farms.

A Canopy Growth facility in South Aldergrove hosts more than 200,000 cannabis plants in an existing greenhouse close to the U.S. border.

Neighbours had complained about the smell, lights, and sometimes noise from the vast facility.

The new rules would allow local governments to ban similar projects – but they will not allow retroactive bans. Existing licensed operations can continue to operate.

The ban also applies only to cannabis grown in a structure.

Local governments can’t ban marijuana if grown in an open field or “in a structure that has a soil base,” according to the provincial announcement.

Froese said the Township will likely seek a legal opinion on the new rules and then explore its options.

“On the face of it, it seems we have a little more authority than yesterday,” he said.

He noted it may still not go far enough for some people, and that “production has to happen someplace” as recreational marijuana becomes legal on Oct. 17 this year.

But it will allow local governments to address some of the impacts on land, the environment, and neighbours, he said.

In the past, the Township has attempted to regulate medical marijuana cultivation in the ALR, but the Agricultural Land Commission and the Ministry of Agriculture pushed back, ruling that medical marijuana was a permitted use in the ALR. About 70 per cent of Langley Township is in the ALR.

Just Posted

Reports of rashes prompt pool closures at Harrison Hot Springs

Public pool available after all five mineral pools closed until further notice

Oil pipeline company offers cash to expand under two Chilliwack school yards

District offered $136,500 to widen from 18 to 42 metres through Vedder middle and Watson elementary

Chilliwack’s Chief Ernie Crey a firm pipeline supporter

Crey lauds NEB focus on marine safety in his role representing Indigenous oversight committee

Sarah Wark’s run just about done at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

With an overall record of 5-5, Wark’s Team B.C. won’t be qualifying for Saturday’s playoff round.

Chilliwack’s aquifer again in the spotlight with NEB pipeline approval

Concerns from WaterWealth Project and Coun. Jason Lum, but mayor says it’s time to ‘move forward’

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Man sentenced to 7 years for smuggling drugs and shooting at border guards in Sumas

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford in 2013 after day-long manhunt

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

Most Read