All Rolled Up Into One: Municipal Marihuana Bylaws

Just in time for Christmas! Rocky View Council and the county staff are looking to spread a little bit of Christmas bud. Unanimously passing a resolution, Council has instructed the county staff to light up the new year with a draft amendment to the Land Use bylaw which will include a definition of and parameters for large-scale commercial marijuana grow-ops in Rocky View. 

Rocky View Council and the county staff have become quite stressed after new federal regulations were passed on October 1, 2013 making it legal to engage in the large-scale commercial production of kentucky blue. The feds have let the p-dogs out under the “new” federal ‘Marijuana Medical Access Regulations’ and Health Canada will be seeking to increase the number of licenses issued to large-scale commercial pot production operations from 3 to approximately 50.   

In Rocky View there are no bylaws in place to deal with legalized large-scale commercial jamaican red hair horticulture; Rocky View Council and the county staff believe they cannot just hang and chill out at the usual glacial speed. With the motion munchies in full rage, Council and the county staff have opted to take smoking swift action and get the rules in place as fast as express delivery of some railroad weed. A top priority of the new Council and the county staff is to tidy up the Land Use bylaw before Aunt Mary shows up for tea

Most Rocky View residents may not know that the current federal regulations allow Canadians, with authorization from Health Canada or a doctor’s certification, to grow small amounts of medicinal marijuana for their own use and up to two other legal-users. However, as of April 2014, the new regulations put the scissors to that kutcha string and take to large-scale commercial grow-ops, requiring legal-users to purchase through a cartel of up to 50 large-scale commercial producers. So, legal-users will no longer be authorized to engage in gardening their own giggle smokes. 

With the potential of large-scale commercial Indonesian Bud operations lingering in the air, Rocky View Council and the county staff are concerned over the significant challenges faced by such operations and feel obligated to seek a position and ensure they have some solutions in their stockings come the new year. Some of the concerning challenges include access to the product during production, packaging, and storage; water and wattage usage, mold abatement, and the aroma of perfume-de-pot that emanates from such large-scale commercial skunkweed ops. On top of these challenges, Rocky View Council and the county staff may need to consider the experience of other Canadian municipalities under the old regs which involved some 12,000 licensed small-time producers.  These experiences included both violent and non-violent invasions on production facilities and some producers engaging in gross overproduction of their license quota. Sit back, close your eyes, take a deep breath in and imagine – the one small-time licensed producer in Chilliwack growing enough medicinal Queen Ann’s Lace to provide each of its [four] licensed users with 78,000 joints per year – that works out to a consumption rate, for those licensed users, of approximately one joint every 7 minutes all year long. Now exhale!         

Two of the most critical questions relating to flower top nurseries Council wants the county staff to answer are: what will the associated criminal impact be on an already over-demanded and over-burdened R.C.M.P. and Community Peace Officers, and what about location, location, location? The current Land-Use bylaw classifies large-scale commercial wacky-tobaccky as an agricultural crop and may be grown near schools, playgrounds, and residential areas – imagine having to explain the puff the magic draggin op living across the street to your children. Despite being aware of the bad trips of other municipalities, Rocky View Council and the county staff are rolling this resolution forward and investigating what types of rules and regulations they need “just in case” a large-scale commercial El Gallo producer wants to set up shop and plant some roots in Rocky View. 

The new regulations allow for any adult who ‘ordinarily’ resides and has a corporate head office in Canada to apply for a large-scale boo boo bama producer license. Once approved, a big-time commercial producer must set up the legalized grow-op site with an alarmed perimeter that is monitored via cameras at all times to prevent any unauthorized entry. In addition, big-time commercial producers must record the date and time of any unauthorized breaches to their location and any measures that were taken in response to the unauthorized intrusion. On the inside, access to the blue sage must be limited by a physical barrier and records kept on all employees entering and exiting the mexican locoweed restricted zone. 

Just as internal and external security of the joint is important, to whom can Mr. Big-time sell scrub? Under the new regulations, large-scale commercial producers can only provide the bambalachacha to other licensed producers, a licensed dealer, or the Minister (no that does not include a mayor). Despite being locally grown, every licensed producer would be eligible to apply for a permit to import and export Rocky View grown panama cut interprovincially and internationally. This would give a whole new meaning behind Rocky View’s corporate slogan “Cultivating Communities”.

Rules on fatty distribution are not the only thing large-scale commercial weed producers require to be tight; they must also employ a ‘qualified’ quality assurance person and have a product recall system in place should any bad bob marley cakes make it out. Most importantly all labeling on the packages of acapulco gold headed to market must carry the warning “KEEP OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN”. 

It is understandable how the large-scale commercial zig zag man may apply peer pressure Rocky View Council and the county staff and tempt them with the irresistible urge to indulge in earning property tax from ganja grow-ops, but is this good governance or just another racket in the quest to be the kingpins of tax diversification? Rocky View Council and the county staff could adopt a “Just say No!” policy perhaps.

“Just say No!” policies may prove too harsh for some down in the county offices to take in. New “doobie-ous” federal regulations may make some feel they have ‘no choice’ but to join the party. Rocky View Council and the county staff could adopt “do not inhale” policies, such as some municipalities, when dealing with adult entertainment establishments (aka stripper joints), establish a minimum perimeter (aka setback) of 150 metres from residential areas, schools, churches, public parks, and playgrounds. Rocky View could adopt a minimum perimeter (aka set back) of 150 “kilometres” from residential areas, schools, churches, public parks, and playgrounds for all those large-scale commercial businesses wanting to engage in dirt grass production. Furthermore, placing viper weed on the prohibited noxious weed list (yes – they can do it – read section 9(1) of the Weed Control Regulation) would certainly ensure ‘clear communication’ on Rocky View Council and the county staff’s position on deriving tax revenue from large-scale pot production. Problem solved!

Rocky View Council and the county staff may feel like Christopher Columbus on the santa maria leading the way to the new world, but maybe inviting jim jones, mary jane, rose marie, and aunt mary onto the love boat, isn’t such a great tax diversification idea. Maybe Rocky View Council and the county staff should be thinking more along the lines of increasing senior housing when wanting to welcome a white-haired lady to the community or thinking of recreational and cultural facilities, in terms of hockey rink refrigeration or community hall air conditioning, when dreaming about reefers.

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