Report Recommends Windsor Hold Off on Cannabis Plant Odour Bylaw

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A bylaw regulating odours coming from cannabis plants might not be coming to Windsor.

Councillor Gary Kaschak brought the issue forward after residents in Ward 8 complained about smells emanating from neighbouring back yards due to a large number of marijuana plants.

According to a report going before council, "Health Canada admitted laws surrounding the personal production of pot for medical purposes is in need of retooling."

Four plants are permitted to be grown for personal use per household under the Cannabis Act, but someone growing medicinal marijuana for personal use can have as many plants as a federal permit will allow.

Administration is recommending the city hold off on crafting a by-law until the federal government has a chance to respond to the issue.

Kaschak says growing four plants for personal use isn't a huge issue, but dozens in a back yard can be a problem.

"When you get something like what happened in my ward where there's now 23 plants growing in a dense area in Fontainebleau with 60 ft. wide back yards, the odour tends to permeate substantially through the neighbourhood," he says.

He says the city already has bylaws in place restricting agricultural use in urban settings.

Turning a back yard into grow op should be treated the same way, according to Kaschak.

"Some people think it's an us versus them type issue, but that's really not what it is," he says. "It's regulating a loophole, being a good neighbour for quality of life and seeing if we can all exist through bylaws that we have throughout the city, just not on this topic."

The issue is already on the federal government's radar, so Kaschak won't be surprised if fellow councillors vote to hold off on a bylaw.

"The federal government realized there's kind of a loophole here and they're going to see what the report through Health Canada comes up with and what people have to say," he says. "We'll see if we get some of cross jurisdictional bylaw down the road."

Kaschak says Leamington is in the midst of a legal challenge to its odour bylaw.

Leamington's bylaw is for commercial use, but Kaschak says the outcome may have an impact on Windsor's decision as well.

If council chooses to move forward with a bylaw, administration is recommending the bylaw be limited to prohibiting, "the emission of noxious cannabis odours that are persistent or continuous and that interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of other property in the vicinity."