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Wellington North to consider where cannabis operations can be located


August 19, 2021
By Alison Sandstrom, GuelphToday.com (Local Journalism Initiative)

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New rules to regulate how and where legal cannabis growing and processing operations are allowed to set up shop could be on the way in Wellington North, Ont.

Council is set to discuss a motion from Mayor Andy Lennox that asks staff to prepare a report on the matter during its next regular meeting on Aug. 23. The mayor also wants a pause on new applications in the meantime.

Lennox introduced the idea at a July 26 meeting, where earlier in the afternoon council voted to deny an application for an indoor cannabis cultivation and processing facility in Arthur.

In June, three months after the township held a public meeting on the application, police seized over 7,500 plants, along with money and marijuana processing equipment from the same address on Wells Street West. Four people from Scarborough and Markham were charged in connection.

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In a telephone interview Lennox said the Wells Street application brought to light “some holes” in current township zoning and planning policies.

As for the illicit operation that was later discovered at the site, “of course we never want illegal activity,” he said.

“But there could have been potentially legal activity there that we didn’t have the policy tools to deal with appropriately,” he continued.

Wellington North currently has two Health Canada-regulated cannabis growing and processing facilities in rural areas of the township, Lennox said.

“But now there are different ways that cannabis production can be done outside of those (Health Canada) rules,” he said. “So we’ve got to figure out how we’re going to regulate it because clearly we can’t have a huge odour problem in a residential area.”

Cannabis production could potentially be categorized as an industrial use because of the processing aspect, but odour is still an issue that needs to be addressed, said Lennox.

In the meantime, Lennox wants to see a pause on new cannabis operation applications “to give us some breathing room to find out what kind of things we need to put in place.”

“We’re just looking for ways to make sure that this doesn’t cause problems for our community in the future,” he said.