By Maureen Coulter
Feb. 12, 2014
Charlottetown city council voted Monday to amend its zoning bylaw to restrict where medical marijuana facilities could be built in Charlottetown.
The vote was 8-2 in favour of amending the bylaw with Coun. Danny Redmond and Coun. Mitch Tweel voting against the amendment.
Council approved two designated zones for the production of medical marijuana- heavy industrial zone and the business park industrial zone.
“Reminder that despite the nature of what is being discussed here, all we are doing is regulating land use,” said Coun. Rob Lantz.
Lantz said the absence of any zoning restrictions could result in the facilities being built anywhere in the city of Charlottetown.
“We are taking what is currently unregulated and we are regulating it.”
There was a public meeting at the Charlottetown Hotel on Jan. 29 to discuss medical marijuana facilities.
Tweel said not one speaker who attended this meeting was in favour of the facilities being built in Charlottetown.
“I was surprised by the lack of participation from the community. I thought there would have been at least a dozen or so speakers.”
Only three speakers attended and none were in favour, said Tweel.
“Furthermore it sends a wrong message to the community whether it’s a land use issue or not.”
Tweel said he won’t be supporting medical marijuana facilities in the city of Charlottetown.
“We haven’t heard anyone in support of a medical marijuana facility in our city. No support. I fail to see why a resolution is coming forward. I’m very concerned.”
Lantz said two of the speakers at the Jan. 29 meeting were medical marijuana users who were speaking against the commercialization of it, not the use of marijuana. The other person was Rev. Scott MacIsaac who said his concern was for the prisoners with addiction issues he works with.
“These are federally regulated facilities that provide a drug for therapeutic purposes and they can be built here whether you like it or not,” said Lantz.
Lantz told councillors they could vote against the proposed zoning bylaw but what they would be saying is it can be built anywhere in the city because that is the current state of the bylaw.
“A facility such as this can go anywhere conceivably in the city legally right now.”
The issue on marijuana facilities has been decided at a level of government two levels above Charlottetown city council, he said.
“We cannot say go away, not allowed in Charlottetown. Sorry, it’s a legal use. Our government has said so.”
Coun. Danny Redmond said he had a difficult time trying to support the motion.
“I too have talked to people in the community that can’t understand why this is happening here. They don’t understand the process.”
Redmond said he has never smoked marijuana in his life and hasn’t seen any scientific evidence that says it helps people with cancer and pain.
“I guess it does, I haven’t seen it.”
Coun. Terry Bernard said this is a legal federal plant and the city should have control of where this particular facility will go.
“Do I want it across the street from my place? No. Do other civilians want it across the street from them? No.”
Bernard backed up Lantz saying that is all Lantz is trying to do. If the government decides to build one in Charlottetown, the city can present two areas where it is OK to build it, he said.
“Whether you like medical marijuana or don’t really doesn’t play into this.”
Do the right thing and put it in a designated area, he said.