Council approves grow-op zone

Health Canada may have made some marijuana grow-operations legal, but Burnaby city hall doesn't want them springing up around town and taking them by surprise.

Council recently approved changes to the zoning bylaw to require that the latest incarnation of legal grow-ops be restricted to the city's industrial zones and be reviewed through a rezoning process that would trigger a public hearing.

The move is in response to Health Canada's upcoming changes to its rules which currently allow licenced growers of medicinal marijuana to grow cannabis in their homes for themselves and no more than two licenced consumers.

As of March 31, all such licences will expire and the program will end, with producers not being allowed to continue operating unless they get a licence under the new rules. Even then, they will have to apply for a rezoning, allowing council to have the final decision.

The new regulations will require medicinal pot to be produced on a large scale by private companies and allow for an unlimited number of authorized customers, essentially removing them from residential neighbourhoods.

After the recent council decision, Burnaby's zoning bylaw now restricts the licenced grow-ops to zones where production facilities for pharmaceuticals and drugs are currently located. They are prohibited from agricultural zones.

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