Cannabis should be grown on farms
I read your editorial about cannabis farms in the Feb. 14 paper with interest. I generally agree with the proposition that farmland for food needs to be protected.
I write, however, to add a few comments that provide some context. Health Canada currently does not permit outdoor cannabis farming, though that may be coming this year. As a result, greenhouses have become an economically and more environmentally friendly way to produce commercial quantities of cannabis.
Those greenhouses, however, do not need to include acres of concrete floors. While growing in the ground may not be practical at this time, some greenhouses do not have full floors and instead use troughs on rails above a ground sheeting that is itself placed on tilled earth. Indeed one can see these types of greenhouses widely in use in food production in B.C. right now.
Further, the ALR currently restricts how much land per parcel can be covered. The maximum limit is 30 per cent coverage. Accordingly, even concrete-floor greenhouses are not eating up entire properties. Setbacks from property boundaries can act to further reduce total coverage.
Cannabis is a plant that should be grown on farms, not exclusively in industrial areas. With Health Canada poised to license micro-cultivators, the province should allow farm-to-consumer sales much like we do in our local vineyards and craft breweries and distilleries. This will benefit both small farmers and local communities, and allow for environmentally and farmland-friendly production.