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Mayor says exclusion of medical pot growers from farm status is good news

The provincial government's move to close a potential tax loop hole for medical marijuana operations is good news, according to Mayor John Ruttan.

The B.C. government recently announced that federally-licensed medical marijuana operations will not qualify for farm tax status. The decision will make sure local governments don’t lose out on potential property tax revenue.

“From our standpoint, it's very good news indeed,” said Ruttan. “Our fear was that while [Tilray has] proven to be a very good Nanaimo operation, that others could come along that may not see the same path.”

Nanaimo city council raised concerns about the loss of property taxes last year when medical marijuana producer Tilray, applied for rezoning at Duke Point. It had the company sign a covenant preventing it from applying to B.C. Assessment for farm status. Politicians also prohibited future licensed operations from heavy industrial areas like Duke Point.

The province will continue to view medical marijuana production as an allowable farm use within the Agricultural Land Reserve. The exclusion from farm classification for property tax purposes takes affect in the 2015 taxation year.

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