Belleville Council Moving Ahead With Ground Rules For Cannabis Businesses

The city council in Belleville is continuing to move forward with making ground rules concerning the sale and production of medical cannabis. There was some opposition from certain councilors, but the motion to enact the reworked bylaw which helps protect the city’s ability to have a say in planning any future cannabis dispensaries went ahead.

Even though Trudeau has picked a former cop to head the federal legalization effort, councilors Mike Graham(also a former police inspector) and Paul Carr strongly oppose legalization. Carr rejected this motion, saying that he does not agree with retail cannabis dispensaries opening in the city. “It’s not legal under federal law,” Carr said. He also said that a few municipalities have amended bylaws in order to “allow for production facilities, but I can’t find any amendments where they have included marijuana dispensary in terms of retail sales.”

The federal government does face some hurdles as far as international treaties and dealing with each province goes. Carr says that he appreciates the fact that the city is being so proactive, but he thinks they are moving too fast and that the rules they make could be useless if newer federal and provincial laws don’t comply with the what the city does. Vancouver and Victoria, for example, have looked to police input on how to properly address legal grey areas with the dispensaries. Carr says that “I think we’re moving too far ahead in terms of where the law may go.”

These new zoning rules now state that a “medical marijuana facility shall mean premises used for the growing, producing, testing, destroying, storing, or distribution of medical marijuana or cannabis authorized by a license issued by Health Canada.” In addition, it states that “marijuana dispensary shall mean a business selling or dispensing marijuana or cannabis products as the primary activity of the business.”

It is not very clear whether these types of businesses would fall under the industrial or agricultural use category under current zoning laws, which predate the cannabis industry.