N. Cowichan actually one of first with pot laws

N. Cowichan actually one of first with pot laws

North Cowichan was not the last municipality to adopt bylaws for the cultivation of medical pot.

N. Cowichan actually one of first with pot laws

North Cowichan was not the last municipality to adopt bylaws for the cultivation of medical pot. I’m pretty sure DMNC was of the first, second only to Surrey. I’m pretty sure because it was the economic development committee I chaired that introduced the draft bylaw to council, which got adopted.

During my time on council there was an ongoing discussion about land use permission, not only on ALR lands but anywhere. The Harper government responded to the cries of police, fire and municipalities. Upset by the terrible roll out of Health Canada pot regulations that allowed medical pot to be grown just about anywhere under secret licences known only to HC, the feds made changes.

Pot growing operations were causing havoc in urban residential communities. The changes to the regs under Harper made it easier for municipalities to regulate land use around the pot industry. The federal government made it easier but did not provide clear direction and the provinces, B.C., were soft on messaging and reluctant to provide clear policy statements either. (By the way, council did not adopt new bylaws recently, they adopted recommended standards for bylaw development governing medical pot, as far as I can see.)

North Cowichan was avante guard in its approach and followed Surrey’s lead knowing the bylaw may be flawed for lack of senior level government guidance. In fact, by the time DNMC adopted its land use pot bylaw, which limited cultivation and distribution to industrial zoned lands, the province and ALC were sending clearer signals that pot would be permitted on ALR lands.

In other words we knew we adopted a flawed bylaw but we had a bylaw. DMNC knew then that if ALC permitted pot DMNC would have to allow it on its agricultural zoned lands too and in all zones where agriculture is permitted. North Cowichan knew it likely adopted a flawed bylaw but since, at the time, there was little movement from the province, it didn’t need to act further until now.

Unless DMNC rescinded the original bylaw it remains one of the first of its kind and remains on the corporate record.

John Koury

Duncan