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Marigona - grow operation uproots

The owner of the largest medical marijuana production facility in Kelowna, and one of the largest in Canada, says he's taking his business elsewhere.

Speaking with Castanet following Monday's City Council meeting, the owner who doesn't want to be identified for security reasons, says Kelowna is making it impossible for him to try and run his business so he's taking his operation, and the accompanying tax dollars, out of town.

He wouldn't name the BC community but says it's one that will allow medical marijuana facilities in areas zoned agricultural, commercial or industrial.

Kelowna council Monday gave first three readings to a zoning amendment that would allow potential medical marijuana production facilities only in specified industrial zones while second text amendment was also approved to prohibit medical marijuana production facilities from all Agriculture 1 (A1) zones by amending the definition of agriculture.

"We've approached them and they've approached us and we've had great conversations with them," he says.

"They toured our facility and said how can we assist you in doing what you are doing?"

Conversely, he says Kelowna didn't give him the same courtesy.

"When put forth the opportunity to come by and look at a facility and what we do in a commercial zone that is industrial, there are no homes around, they were not even willing to come look at it. It tells us that the conversation isn't there, it isn't happening.

When we go somewhere else, the economic benefits to that community are in the hundred's of thousand's, if not the million's of dollars a year. It is unfortunate Kelowna and the people will not receive those dollars as a company moving to another area."

Like any other business, he says if a city makes it difficult for a businessman to do business they are going to look elsewhere.

He also took issue with what he called the 'fear' around the new process.

"When they talk about seeing these great, enormous buildings, we have large buildings within the city already.

It won't be a big green building with a pot leaf on it where everybody will be in fear whenever they drive by that they are going to get shot. It doesn't make any sense."

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