Directors with the Regional District of Nanaimo are aware that the rules around legal marijuana grow operations have changed, but they’re still unclear on what that will mean for them — and they’re looking for answers.
The issue arose at the regular board meeting Tuesday when a Cedar resident complained about the smell from a legal grow-op next door to her home.
Kathryn Seymour said in her presentation that she lives in an area where there are many such operations.
“The smell is very distinctive,” she said. “I’ve had many people comment on it as they drive through the area.”
Her neighbour’s legal operation, she said, is one of the sources of the pungent odor. She said she requested the person living there to do something about it, but all that happened was that she was assaulted by a secondary odor used in an attempt to cover up the first.
“He’s trying to mask it, but there’s a constant and strong wind blowing our way. When the smell is baad we have to close our windows. We’ve had people complain of headaches from all-day exposure.”
Seymour noted that recently-announced changes to the medical marijuana legislation could improve the situation but stressed that the larger operations could prove to be magnets for crime — something she wants to avoid in her generally quiet neighbourhood.
To this end, she called on the RDN to set up zoning restrictions to make sure that any new operations are sited in commercial or industrial, rather than rural or residential areas.
Under the new regulations, production will no longer be allowed to be done in homes and all municipal zoning laws will need to be respected.
In response to the delegation, deputy board chair Diane Brennan called on district staff to prepare a report on the district’s options for controlling legal marijuana grow operations, as well as the issues arising from changes to the legislation.