North Saanich leaders voice concern about cannabis production


WATCH: Some leaders in North Saanich are concerned about cannabis producing facilities taking over farmland. But others in the marijuana industry say such facilities are good for the economy. 

North Saanich Mayor Alice Finall wants to see cannabis producing facilities restricted to industrial areas over concerns about damage to farmland.

“Not only does the structure have to be quite specific, so does the security around these things,” Finall said. “And the big concern in growing it on agricultural land is that it will destroy the land for future use.”

It’s a perspective echoed by councillor Jack McClintock, who wants the municipality to seek legal advice on whether the province overstepped its bounds in allowing cannabis growing on agricultural land (a decision made by the previous Liberal government).

“There is such small agricultural areas within British Columbia that they have to be protected for food sourcing as opposed to alternate uses,” McClintock said.

But some in the marijuana industry say that preventing licensed producers from setting up shop locally would be harmful to the economy.

James Whitehead, who owns Medijuana Dispensary, sources all his products locally.

“The types of jobs that are created inside licensed producer facilities are good quality, long-term, stable jobs. These facilities should be in existence for many decades to come and provide secure, high paying jobs for people that are local to the community,” Whitehead said. “People are quite prideful to have a winery in their community. I don’t see why they wouldn’t feel the same way to have a licensed producer in their community.”

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