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Marijuana stays on ALR land

The City of Vernon has voted to restrict medical marijuana production to agricultural land.

The vote scraps the original bylaw that would have allowed it to be grown on light industrial land.

Their reasoning was simply the tax loss.

“I will speak against the motion as it stands only because BC Assessment has made it very clear that land and property used for this use can only be assessed at agricultural rates. So I would not like to see us use our scarce light industrial land for these uses when we can only recoup the much lower rate of taxation,” explained Mayor Rob Sawatzky.

“We have so little light industrial land and properties within our jurisdiction as it is, so this would take away any potential and just helps to lower our revenue sources,” said Councillor Juliette Cunningham. “I don’t have a moral problem with the issue, but I think the consequences (of lost tax revenue) are really important.”

The only Councillor supporting the motion and wanting to allow medical marijuana production on light industrial land was Councillor Bob Spiers, who insists marijuana production should not be limited to the agricultural zone.

“This puts a considerable wrench in the four or five applications that are before the City right now,” said Spiers.

“It’s a valid use on industrial land and it can be better controlled with policing. It’s an economic development issue,” he added.

Despite his opposition, council voted against him and struck light industrial land from the bylaw.

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