North Okanagan residents are embracing the industrialization of marijuana production.
The Regional District of North Okanagan board has submitted an application to the Agricultural Land Commission for 38 hectares on McQuinna Road in rural Lumby into the Agricultural Land Reserve so commercial medicinal marijuana can be grown.
“We are seeing applications and we will see more,” said Rob Smailes, planning and building general manager.
The federal government has shifted the production of medicinal marijuana away from small, home-based operations to large, indoor facilities.
The applicant on McQuinna Road proposes to construct additional buildings for the facility. Other parts of the property could be used to grow garlic, raise livestock and produce oregano and cedar oil.
While the board has forwarded the application to the provincial ALC for consideration, there are some concerns about land being added to the ALR in local communities.
“In Spallumcheen, large acreages could go into the ALR and they will get a (partial) tax exemption,” said director Janice Brown because the land now has agricultural status. “The tax base for the community will drop down to next to nothing.”
Director Kevin Acton is pleased medicinal marijuana-grow operations are moving out of residential neighbourhoods because they generated some safety concerns.
“The fact that they (large facilities) will have security is wonderful,” he said.