B.C. municipalities concerned about cannabis production in the ALR

(Pixabay stock photo)

Municipalities in British Columbia are taking issue with a provincial policy change that classifies cannabis production as farm use permitted in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

In a May 22 letter to the provincial government, Union of B.C. Municipalities President Arjun Singh said the group has “concerns about the position that the provincial government has recently taken on this file.”

“Specifically, UBCM is concerned with the legislative and regulatory amendments that were made in February 2019 and which shifted provincial policy on cannabis production in the ALR,” said Singh, referring to amendments that recast all cannabis production in the ALR as farm use “meaning that applications to the ALC are no longer required for any form of cannabis production.”

Singh said UBCM was not consulted on the legislated and regulatory changes and “strongly believe that the amendments will have significant impacts on our members and that UBCM should have been consulted.”

The UBCM also takes issue with a “delay in informing local governments” of the change.

Singh also asked for clarification on the extent to which local governments will now be expected to provide monitoring and enforcement of allowable ALR land use in relation to cannabis production.

“UBCM supports collaboration as the best means to develop policy solutions to address concerns,” Singh wrote in the letter, addressed to Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “As such, we look forward to your response to the concerns we have raised.”