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Medical marijuana bylaw moves ahead

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Saying they are making the best of 'not the best situation,' West Kelowna Councillor Duane Ophus reluctantly moved adoption of third reading of the district's Medical Marijuana bylaw.

"I think we have to go forward whether we completely like it or not and I don't completely like it," says Ophus.

Mayor Doug Findlater agreed.

"I am certainly not happy and I said that last time when we discussed this about how this is being rolled out. Folks back in Ottawa may have thought how it might work in Ottawa but they certainly didn't think it through about how it would work in BC," says Findlater.

"We have all kinds of other complexities and players, however, we have a deadline approaching where we have to manage this issue and this is, as Councillor Ophus said, the best of not an absolutely wonderful situation."

The bylaw allows for Medical Marijuana production facilities to be located in light industrial (I1) zones within the municipality.

While it also states Medical Marijuana facilities cannot be located in multi-tenant buildings unless all tenants are growers.

Two site specific text amendments are also included within the proposed bylaw amendment to allow for commercial medical marijuana production within multi-tenanted buildings for two properties. 1352 Industrial Road and 2322 Dominion Road.

These two properties are currently in stream applications with Health Canada and are located within multi-tenated buildings.

Prior to third reading council waded through a 30 minute public hearing.

Trent Kitsch, founder of SAAX Apparel, is behind the two in stream applications.

Kitsch told council the location at 2322 Dominion Road has been fully producing medical marijuana for the almost two years.

"It's been fully under the watchful eye of inspections. We've worked with Westside Fire Rescue, we've worked with West Kelowna bylaws," Kitsch told council.

"Health Canada is going to have stringent rules with regards to their inspections and their regulations as well as I'm sure the District of West Kelowna will be applying their rules and regulations."

He says it will be professionally run with round the clock surveillance.

"It's a significant investment, it's a pharmaceutical business, it's going to be quality assured."

Kitsch says the second location on Industrial Road is currently vacant and up for sale.

He says if the application is approved through Health Canada he would purchase the building which will create jobs and tax revenue for the municipality.

"I believe this is misconstrued as an illegal or shady business when it's a Health Canada endorsed, fully legal business that I recognized as an entrepreneur is just an economic opportunity."

Because the two properties are near provincial roadways the bylaw must first go to the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for approval before it can receive fourth and final reading.

The new Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations come into effect nationally April 1.

 

 

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