A Vancouver Island father and son are looking to build a medical marijuana facility in Deep Bay.
Lantzville’s Keith Reid and his son Sean, who lives in Parksville, submitted an application to Health Canada late last year to become licensed pot producers.
Keith told The NEWS Wednesday morning the proposed facility would be “relatively small” and employ around 15 people on a site on the corner of Highway 19A and Gainsberg Road, between Deep Bay and Bowser. Keith confirmed he owns the property and the facility would be at least 300 metres from any residence.
“The idea came about with the change in the regulatory regime,” said Keith. “It’s a potential opportunity for employment so we put our application in and we’ll see how it goes.”
Last year, the federal government passed into law Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. The regulations describe the application process for producers and to whom the producers can sell their product. It also includes things like security measures that need to be utilized by a producer.
An individual can get a prescription from a physician for marijuana. That individual can then purchase marijuana through a licensed producer. The producers can also sell to other licensed producers and even export their product.
Asked about the response from the Deep Bay/Bowser community, Keith said “it’s like anything — there will be people who support it and are against it no matter what you do.”
Keith said “often people who are against something may not fully understand the levels of security and requirements one has to adhere to in order to put a facility like this together.”
RDN director Bill Veenhof, who represents the Deep Bay/Bowser area, said he would rather see a medical marijuana facility set up as an industrial activity on industrial land.
However, Veenhof said when the provincial government chose to declare medical marijuana production an agricultural activity, the B.C. government “took every decision making opportunity out of local government’s hands.”
Veenhof said he feels “intensely frustrated by the province doing this and legislating it (medical pot production) as an agricultural activity without discussion with local government.”
RDN manager of building, bylaw and emergency planning Tom Armet confirmed the regional district has been informed of the Reid’s medical marijuana proposal to Health Canada.
Armet noted the RDN cannot prohibit uses on provincial agricultural land reserves.
“The province has deemed medical marijuana a farm use under their regulations, therefore they are allowed to produce medical marijuana on ALR land,” said Armet. “The regional district cannot prohibit that use.”
The RDN issued a news release reiterating “the RDN is not the approval authority for the proposed medical marijuana production facility” and directs all concerned residents to contact Health Canada at 1-866-337-7705.