St Clair Township limits medical marijuana operations to industrial area

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Backyard grow-ops in St. Clair Township have become officially illegal.

Third reading of a bylaw, to restrict medical marijuana growing to industrial zoned areas, was given Monday a at a special council meeting called to address the issue.

About 16 people attended the meeting.

According to Mayor Steve Arnold, the locations of future commercial pot operations are limited to areas zoned M2 or M3 — land zoned for medium to heavy industry.

There’s plenty of that available in the township’s industrial park located east of Corunna, Arnold says.

Parcels there, he adds, provide at least a one-kilometre buffer from other industries, he says, exceeding the minimum requirement of 300 metres.

Although the bylaw passed there’s a 28-day appeal period to oppose the move.

“We were really excited and pleased to hear what the public had to say,” Arnold explains.

Medical marijuana grow-ops are being touted as the next big thing. Politicians and economists predict unprecedented growth in the field.

Canada is on track to legalize marijuana for recreational use later this year and exponential growth is expected.

Arnold says several people have contacted St. Clair Township interested in setting up medical marijuana growing operations in the last few months. Arnold says the township wanted to figure out zoning first.

A case involving a licensed medical marijuana grow-op operating in the former Murray Street Public School – which sparked the discussion of where grow-ops should go – is now before the courts.

The owners, who obtained a license four years ago, were running the grow-op in an area zoned residential.

When the township learned of the operation it moved to shut it down.

However, the owner appealed the decision to the Ontario Municipal Board and will continue to operate it until the case appeal is heard April 24.

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