RDEK ponders pot production

Regional District proposes bylaw amendments for growing medical marijuana

  • Sep. 10, 2014 11:00 a.m.

The RDEK took another step to allowing medical marijuana production with a slew of proposed bylaw amendments last week at a monthly board meeting.

However, don’t expect any medicinal operations to spring up overnight.

The board gave each of the 13 bylaws a second reading and set up meetings across the region for public feedback.

At issue is setting out land-use conditions for an operation that produces medical marijuana. The federal government controls the regulations around licenses and permits, but the RDEK has the authority to approve locations for any potential facilities, according to Area C director Rob Gay.

“So now when someone comes and says, ‘I’d like to pursue this’, we can say, ‘Here’s the rules for this zoning bylaw. If you want to do it in the Rockyview area, this is the rules, if you want to do it in the Elk Valley, this is the rules’,” Gay said.

The federal government changed the regulations earlier this year, allowing the production of larger-scale medical marijuana operations.

Gay added that the RDEK has heard from a couple people interested in setting up such an operation.

“So what we had to do under our bylaws, is to say, ‘These are the conditions under which you can grow [medical] marijuana’,” he said.

However, despite the proposed bylaw amendments, Gay said he feels any kind of medical marijuana production operation should be located within East Kootenay municipal boundaries.

“In our view, these things probably belong more in a municipality where you have policing, you have electricity, you’ve got all the services and the water,” Gay said.

The RDEK will be hosting a public meeting for the proposed bylaw amendments on Sept. 17 at 4 p.m. in the RDEK boardroom in Cranbrook.