A cannabis research and development business is asking Pitt Meadows council for permission to set up a lab in the city.
Reid Parr of Pinecone Products paints a picture of a science-based operation that will produce products for the medical marijuana industry. But to operate in Pitt Meadows, he will need council to change a city bylaw.
Reid said his operation is not for the production or sale of marijuana, but will do product development for gel caps, edible syrups, vape liquids and other products that can be marketed as medical marijuana.
He said the company would license intellectual properties and sell equipment and formulas, and do contract processing.
“There’s a lot going on in the derivative products market,” said Parr.
He said those products have a longer shelf life than marijuana bud, and take up less space.
“Over the years, the market is going to move in that direction – that’s what we’re seeing in the U.S.”
Pot products that provide an alternative to smoking are also more attractive to people seeking marijuana for a medical purpose.
“It’s a safer method of consumption, because you’re not carcinogen-izing the product,” said Parr.
The proposed operation in Pitt Meadows would operate in an industrial park, and would employ 30-40 people, he said. Of those, and estimated 25 would have a university degree, diploma or trade.
Biology and chemistry students will be key players.
“We’re a science-focussed company.”
Mayor John Becker has already heard that same pitch in his office, and invited Parr to appear before council on Tuesday.
Becker said because of senior government’s lack of direction on marijuana legalization, Pitt Meadows council has not allowed production facilities or dispensaries in its zoning bylaws.
“We did not want wild west legal uncertainty,” said Becker, a lawyer.
He said before a bylaw change to allow such a facility in an industrial zone, he wanted a presentation to council.
Becker also recommended that council direct staff to investigate and report back on federal and provincial regulations as they relate to processing, manufacturing and other activities associated with marijuana production, as well as how other local governments are regulating uses as associated with marihuana.
Becker would also expect a public information meeting on the bylaw change.
“This is something that may be appropriate for the community to weigh in on,” said Becker. “We want to make sure if we allow it in the community, it’s after a rigorous review process.”
Parr said council’s caution is understandable.
“We resign ourselves to the process – with anything cannabis related, there’s additional scrutiny you go through,” he added.
“It warrants the due diligence.”
He said Pinecone products is part of a company that has businesses in Maple Ridge and other communities. Once approved, the company could be established in six months, and be fully operational in nine months to a year.