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Ontario group to examine municipal experiences with cannabis production


March 5, 2021
By Jennifer Golletz, Collingwood Today (Local Journalism Initiative)

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The Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) has established a working group to assist municipalities in navigating the uncharted waters of legal cannabis production.

In December, AMO launched a new staff working group on personal and designated medical cannabis grow operations.

Brian Rosborough, AMO’s executive director explained the working group was established to, “examine municipal and community experiences with these types of cannabis production operations.”

“The group will also look at the policy and regulations governing them to improve understanding and inform AMO’s policy development and advocacy,” Rosborough said.

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Currently the working group consists of 18 members from municipalities across the province, including Brantford, Leamington, Norfolk County, Ottawa, Sudbury, Tecumseh, Thunder Bay, Caledon, New Tecumseth, and Tweed.

Michael Benner, director of planning and building services for the municipality of Grey Highlands is also a member.

According to Rosborough, the rules surrounding designated and personal cannabis operations can be complex.

“While these types of growing operations are required to be located in appropriately zoned areas and conform to building and electrical codes, the confidential nature of patient information means that municipalities often have little information to enforce their by-laws,” he explained.

“In extreme cases, law enforcement has found that some producers may use the medical personal and designated growing rules to produce cannabis for sale in illegal markets, causing safety and security concerns,” Rosborough continued.

With the group forming in late 2020, AMO reports the group’s work has not yet begun. However, the organization is hopeful the collaboration of experts from across the province will help to build more resources for local municipalities.

Previous to launching the working group, AMO also contributed FCM’s Guide to Recreational Cannabis Legalization for Municipal Governments.