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Council confirms zoning amendment for medical marijuana

Posted August 12, 2014

New Tecumseth's decision to direct future medical marijuana operations to industrial zones is already turning into a deterrent for investors.

In an email dated Aug. 11, 2014 to mayor Mike MacEachern, Neil Morgan of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, explained he represents a proponent who is seeking to develop a 40,000 sq. ft facility on farmland "in or near Simcoe County."

"A facility of this size will likely bring 20 permanent jobs to the community along with the temporary employment of local construction operations to build such a facility," according to Mr. Morgan, who warned that council's decision to remove the business of medical marijuana as a permitted use in agricultural zones, will discourage that type of investment in the municipality, "as it will significantly raise the costs of building and operating such a facility."

Mr. Morgan did not list his client's name, nor was he able to convince council to postpone its decision until the fall so he could address the matter in person.

Prior to the amendment, New Tecumseth's zoning bylaw would have permitted such uses in 'Agriculture,' Urban Industrial (UM), Urban Light Industrial (ULM) and Rural Industrial (RM) Zones.

"Council can look to Maple Ridge, British Columbia as an example of a municipality that has decided to allow such facilities to operate on agricultural land. Indeed, the British Columbia Agricultural Land Commission has determined that such facilities are consistent with the definition of "farm use."

Ward 5 councillor Donna Jebb said New Tecumseth's farming community was in favour of the Town's decision.

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