City Waiting on Health Canada to Address Backyard Cannabis Grow Odours

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It'll be status quo in Windsor when it comes to cannabis plant odours.

The issue was brought to council following several complaints about smells coming from backyard grows.

The law allows four plants per household, but those growing for medical use can obtain a permit from Health Canada to grow more.

Councillor Kieran McKenzie says Health Canada has acknowledged the law needs "retooling", but until then the city's hands are tied.

He says, for now, council is going to take a wait and see approach.

"At this point, it's not clear the extent to which a municipality would be able to have a role in enforcing bylaws," he says.  "That's being tested currently in the courts for a case that's been brought forward concerning the Town of Leamington. We're going to wait to take any specific action or to make any specific investments."

McKenzie says there are far too many unanswered questions.

"The federal legislation, I would argue, encroached upon areas of municipal jurisdiction particularly in terms of zoning and sort of opened up some of these questions in terms of whether or not municipalities can even have the authority to do enforcement in areas where they normally would have the opportunity to do that," says McKenzie.

He feels federal legislation was rushed though, causing problems at the municipal level.

"It was done at breakneck speed," he says.  "You rush through the normal processes of review, revision and discussion and certain things may get left unaddressed. It did tread on areas that are specifically what municipalities exist to regulate and to enforce."

Health Canada is currently undergoing a public consultation on growing regulations which is set to wrap up May 7 — a report with recommendations is expected shortly after.

— with files from AM800's Rob Hindi