Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Council to share ongoing concerns over Cannabis regulations with Health Canada as review of program gets underway

Cannabis grows in Prince Rupert was part of the narrative for Monday evening's Prince Rupert City Council Session, with the topic coming up a few times during the course of the near one hour session.

As we outlined earlier today, some of that focus came out of the review of the new measures in place for Prince Rupert Fire/Rescue when it comes to the Fire Inspection program for the department.

Fire Chief Jeff Beckwith noted for council of some of the challenges that the medicinal grow operations pose for the community, observing of a number of loopholes the Department faces towards oversight.

"We're certainly doing some investigating in that, but as it stands right now, there are some pretty obvious loopholes in that whole process to get some firmity. 

They are not required to be inspected by us, once they are licensed  then that is part of a privacy issue for the business owner or the occupant and it ties into security. 

So, if all of a sudden everybody else in the neighbourhood knows that this house is filled with a bunch of pot plants, some people may go in there and start looking for free pot" -- Fire Chief Beckwith

As part of that conversation, the City Manager then outlined the options the City may have towards addressing the issue and how the city could develop a process for inspecting them as well as it making for an issue for the city to express to Health Canada.

"This is a  matter that Council has actually asked us to do some research and develop policy on. To allow the city to find a way to you know where medically oriented grow operations for cannabis and to develop a process for inspecting them. 

That's the one thing we can do, we can't say yes or no to them, but we can inspect. 

So that will be our way into doing what we can with that use, along with expressing our concerns to Health Canada as they reconsider their regulations" -- City Manager Rob Buchan

Further discussion to the topic came at the end of the Monday session, with Councillor Barry Cunningham recommending that the City forward a letter to Health Canada to express their ongoing concern over the issue.

"It's been brought to my attention and other people that the Cannabis Act was supposed to be reviewed three years after it came in, in 2018, which would have put it right in the middle of the pandemic, it wasn't done but it's coming up for review very shortly.

And I would like to see the City send a letter to Health Canada as well as to our MP, expressing our concerns about Cannabis medicinal marijuana grow ops in the downtown, our business and residential areas. 

And also the habit of combining licences until you get into a Super Grow or commercial situation, especially in a small city like Prince Rupert where it has an impact on our business and residential areas.

So I just think it's something that we've discussed before and I think these should be, because they've almost become commercial entities, they should be out in a commercial or industrial setting not within the city limits itself.

So I would just like to get a direction that staff fire off that letter to Health Canada" -- Councillor Barry Cunningham at Monday's Council Session

Mayor Brain observed that it had already been done, however the City Manager noted that the letter as suggested by Councillor Cunningham would be a helpful extra step.

Some of the more recent exchanges on the topic of Cannabis grows in the city can be explored below:

June 15 -- City Council members welcomes New Detachment OIC, share thoughts on what issues may be of most concern to the community
June 1 -- Council Cannabis Discussion on elf Challenges, Direction and Deflection 
May 30 -- Council to receive report on Cannabis Regulation and what City May or may not be able to do about it
May 18 -- Mayor awaits final report on issue but promises a 'lengthy response' to commercial marijuana issue in the city

You can review the two discussion pieces from Monday through the Council Video, the Fire Chiefs overview starts at the 35minute mark, Councillor Cunningham's commentary comes at the 51 minute mark.

More items of note from Monday's Council Session can be reviewed through our Council Timeline Feature.

Past discussion topics from Council can be explored from our archive page.

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