City Council Looking for More Say in Medical Marijuana Grow Approvals

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Windsor council has endorsed a motion calling for tighter restrictions and more municipal input when it comes to medical cannabis home grows.

Ward 9 councillor Kieran McKenzie made the motion and says the issue has been on his radar for quite some time as complaints about odours continue to pile up.

Backyard grows allow for four recreational plants, but with a Health Canada license residents can grow as many medical plants as they're approved for. 

McKenzie feels the federal government rushed through its cannabis legislation with very little consultation.

"One of the problems with what the federal government did in terms of moving forward with that legislation and the way that they did is they didn't take into consideration the full scope of what falls into the jurisdiction of municipalities in terms of zoning and even from a property standards and property maintenance standpoint," says McKenzie.

He says municipalities deserve to have more say.

"We're just asking for the federal government to allow for municipalities to be able to have a role to determine what types of activities and things are appropriate in what parts of the municipality just like we would have the opportunity to determine whether or not you would put a residential neighbourhood in a certain area and a manufacturing district in another area," he says.

McKenzie says Windsor isn't the only city with concerns.

"There's some consensus around the frustration that we're all feeling to some extent with the fact that we're sort of left out of this process at this time," says McKenzie.  "I think it's a step forward in terms of allowing for us, as a city, to have a role in an area where we have a number of residents that are expressing some concerns."

The motion endorsed by council comes from a report done by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario asking Health Canada to give municipalities more say on the rules related to medical cannabis production.

The report addresses a number of concerns including, "zoning, building code standards, permit requirements and the diversion of cannabis grown for medical purposes into the illicit market."

Windsor's letter of endorsement will be sent to all levels of government.

— with files from AM800's Gord Bacon