Nanaimo Regional District amends regulations for pot growing

NANAIMO – The regional district is proposing changes related to medical marijuana land usage.

With changes coming for medicinal marijuana regulations, the Regional District of Nanaimo is proposing amendments to its land-use bylaw around growing marijuana.

The Agricultural Land Commission has recognized medicinal marijuana production as a farm use under its regulations. The regional district board directed staff to prepare land-use regulation amendments with all electoral areas seeking to allow production on agricultural land.

Amendments to the land-use bylaw deal with electoral area lands located within the Agricultural Land Reserve.

“Essentially … medical marijuana production is going to be permitted on lands in the [Agricultural Land Reserve] that have agricultural as a permitted use in their zoning,” said Robert Stover, a planner with the regional district who prepared the related staff reports. “We’re also establishing setbacks for structures used for medical marijuana production at 30 metres from property lines.”

He added that the setbacks are consistent with agricultural setbacks for other intensive agricultural uses.

Medical marijuana production would not be permitted as a home-based business in residential zones.

Stover estimated amendments could come into effect in the new year. “It would hopefully go for third reading and adoption sometime in the new year.”