Nanaimo city councillors asking for support to close tax loophole

Nanaimo city council aims to spread the word about a potential tax loophole for medical marijuana operations during this year’s Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention.

Nanaimo will pitch three resolutions this April to Island and coastal community leaders, including a bid to see the province remove the ability for licensed medical marijuana facilities to apply for farm status.

Councillors are also proposing legislation changes that would allow B.C. municipalities to regulate the production of medical marijuana within the agricultural land reserve.

The move comes on the heels of a decision by Nanaimo city council to prohibit future licensed operations from heavy industrial areas like Duke Point over concerns of tax revenue losses.

According to the municipality, B.C. Assessment has indicated pot production could be an agricultural use, allowing companies to apply for farm status and lower taxes despite operating industrial land and using city services.

“[We’d] like other communities to be aware of what we are,” said Mayor John Ruttan, who adds discussion is also important around whether the tax loophole can and should be closed.

The convention happens April 11-13 in Parksville and Qualicum.

Other recommended resolutions that Nanaimo will bring to the conference take aim at telecommunications towers and local wildlife trapping bylaws.

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