Pot providing business deals

Sometimes we wonder what politicians must be smoking. When it comes to newly legal medicinal marijuana grow ops, though, the city seems to be proceeding with a clear head.

City council voted this week to restrict pot-growing facilities from opening up in Nanaimo’s industrial properties, while making an exception for a project set to open at Duke Point.

With new federal medical marijuana laws taking effect in the spring, communities across the country are all dealing with this issue at once. Some are taking a puff, some are passing. Some are going so far as total bans on pot production.

There is still confusion as to exactly how much authority municipalities have on the issue, especially on any grow facilities that might be proposed on agricultural land. Nanaimo city council, recognizing pot isn’t the same sort of fall fair harvest as other crops, may consider joining other cities in petitioning to keep grow ops in factory buildings on the outskirts of town.

For the most part, Nanaimo civic leaders are mostly looking at B.C. bud as a business opportunity. Their willingness to make a deal with current proponent Lafitte Ventures might have helped create the goodwill that led to that company agreeing not to seek agricultural classification and subsequent tax breaks.

Now city council is being proactive, making sure other future cannabis farmers will have to appeal to the municipality for permission and make the same kind of concession Lafitte made.

The new marijuana laws are creating controversy, but they’re also creating an industry that is still in its infancy. In Nanaimo we’re just planting a few seeds and seeing what sprouts.

Maybe we’re inviting drug problems. But if problems do crop up, well, it’s not as though we haven’t had to deal with invasive weeds before.

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