Sunday, June 23, 2024

Zoning for Medical Marihuana Production Facility in Aurora

Is it marihuana or marijuana? While Health Canada is having difficulties deciding on the spelling for the plant also known as Cannabis, here in the Town of Aurora our Town Council will be reviewing potential land parcels for Medical Marihuana Production Facilities (MMPF) and deciding on appropriate Zoning By-Laws. On April 8th, 2015 an Aurora Public Planning meeting was held just for that purpose, and a study was presented regarding the Zoning By-Laws along with a list of potential parcels of land. So what do you think? Should the Town of Aurora go for it? Should the Town of Aurora have specific lands re-zoned to allow for medical marihuana growing operations?

I’ve been debating it myself. Are we potentially opening ourselves to drug trafficking and corporate crime here in Aurora? I have a few matters of concern since I think besides medical dried marihuana, the other uses as a recreational drug will never go away. A recreational drug is defined as follows, “Medical Definition of RECREATIONAL DRUG. : a drug (as cocaine, marijuana, or methamphetamine) used without medical justification for its psychoactive effects often in the belief that occasional use of such a substance is not habit-forming or addictive.” Source: Meriam Webster

I apologize for the cut and paste content and links in this post pertaining to medical marihuana. It’s just one of those posts where writing and defining the same thing over again would be time consuming and unnecessary.

Some background always helps. It is important to know that: “Dried marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine in Canada. The Government of Canada does not endorse the use of marijuana, but the courts have required reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana when authorized by a physician.

But, “The Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) create conditions for a commercial industry that is responsible for its production and distribution. The regulations provide access to quality-controlled dried marijuana for medical purposes, produced under secure and sanitary conditions, to those Canadians who need it, while strengthening the safety of Canadian communities.” as per Source. In other words, producing Medical Marihuana in Medical Marihuana Production Facilities (MMPF) is allowed and they are under the Federal Government’s jurisdiction: Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR). The regulations came into effect sometime in 2013 and have been amended since then.

I am sure that there will be many more amendments before the system and regulations become bullet proof, but will they ever be? In the heavily regulated market, rules have already been broken on the light side: “On November 25, 2014, Health Canada issued warning letters to 20 licensed producers regarding their advertising practices.” Read more here.

In addition, I have not seen any information on how many MMPFs will be allowed nation wide. Unlimited? It seems MMPFs have already sparked some speculation within the investment and trading markets. “But Canada has become the destination of choice for pot companies of all stripes. When the federal government introduced rules last year that required patients to buy medical pot from licensed producers, it essentially birthed an industry and drew dozens of new entrants. Bay Street became the world’s leading source of financing for marijuana.” Source: Pot luck: Canada’s first recreational marijuana stock set to begin trading.

My concern is that marihuana serves both sides: in a legal environment it is medical marihuana and in an illegal environment it is recreational marihuana that has “psychoactive and physiological effects when consumed.” The higher prices of medical dried marihuana and heavy regulations may push consumers towards illegal buying, just like before. Regulations also state that no medical marihuana will be sold from MMPFs or at local pharmacies.

The Cannabis plant is one of those plants that nobody really knows about 100%, we just know how it helps those with medical conditions and those without. The research and study of the effect of marihuana has constraints. “Another difficulty researchers have is in recruiting people who smoke cannabis into studies. Because cannabis is an illegal drug in many countries, people may be reluctant to take part in research, and if they do agree to take part, they may not say how much cannabis they actually smoke.” Source: Wiki.

Therefore, the issue of emitting fumes is the least of my worries. The bigger concern is the imagewe will bring to our community when laws are broken. And if our intent in the future is to continue to promote tourism in Aurora, maybe we should think twice about it.

I am not discriminating against medical marihuana, I just think nah,no such facility should be located in the Town of Aurora. I am sure that there will be enough MMPFs out there to service those in need. Implementing medical marihuana regulations was an action to shift away from illegal use. Medical marihuana production is still a premature market to allow here in our community, but that is just my single opinion – open for debate.

Anna Lozyk Romeo
Aurora, ON


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