On Monday, Saanich council will be doing a final review of the zoning bylaw amendment to allow cannabis to be grown in the Agricultural Land Reserve under specific conditions.
Cannabis production will be allowed in Saanich on the B.C. Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in accordance with legislation. However, it must be grown outdoors, in a structure with a soil floor or in a facility that meets the conditions outlined in the ALR Use Regulation – the structure must have been built for growing crops including but not limited to the legal growth of cannabis.
At the beginning of November, council voted to ask residents to weigh in on the issue of cannabis farming in Saanich at a public hearing.
“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,” Coun. Ned Taylor said at the time.
Initially, Saanich council put forward three options for legalizing the production of cannabis in Saanich: amend the zoning bylaw to permit cannabis production only on land zoned for industrial use, amend the bylaw to permit the allow cannabis farming on rural-zoned lands or leave the bylaw as is and only permit the production of cannabis on farms on the ALR.
District staff recommended the first option – allowing cannabis production on industrial land – but the final bylaw amendment includes the third option with a few modifications.
The amendment will not affect Saanich residents’ ability to grow up to four cannabis plants in their home and cannabis can continue to be sold and distributed for medical purposed by those who are licensed.