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Farmland pot ban gets preliminary approval

It is still unclear if the provincial government will approve a Township of Langley bylaw that would ban marijuana production on protected farmland.

That uncertainty did not dissuade councillors from giving preliminary approval to new regulations that would restrict production of medicinal marijuana to industrial and commercial areas.

The vote on Monday night was unanimous. The bylaw would ban legal pot production from the provincially regulated agricultural land reserve that covers 75 per cent of the Township.

Mayor Jack Froese told council he recently spoke with the provincial agriculture minister who gave no indication “one way or the other” about the government’s intentions.

Langley Township is one of four municipalities in the province (the others are Abbotsford, Delta, and Kelowna) that must, by law, get provincial approval for any municipal regulations governing farmland.

A public hearing on the proposed bylaw is planned for the next meeting of council on Dec. 9, followed by an application to the ministry of agriculture.

Under new federal laws taking effect in 2014, large-scale medicinal growing facilities will replace the many smaller licensed pot operations across Canada.

In March, council was advised that the provincial authority in charge of the ALR, the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) has declared that medical marijuana growing on agricultural land is “an agricultural use permitted in the . . . ALR.”

It went on to say that “the production of medical marijuana likely constitutes a “farm operation” because it involves the growing and production of plants.

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