Cannabis farms are facing mounting pressure to comply with federal regulations requiring them to have systems in place that “prevent the escape of odours.”
A resolution from Lake Country that’s endorsed by the Southern Interior Local Government Association is coming before the Union of BC Municipalities’ annual convention this week asking the province to adopt legislation reiterating the federal rule.
A petition has also been launched on StoptheSmell.ca, which claims 2019 was “the summer of stink” in Delta, Langley, Maple Ridge and Abbotsford. The site was registered by Jonathan McGill, communications specialist with the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association, which has waged a running battle with the provincial government over a number of issues in the construction sector. However, the site is not affiliated with ICBA, says association spokesperson Jordan Bateman, who says he registered the site on behalf of his friend John Cameron.
Cameron was upset with odour from the Canopy Growth Corp. greenhouse in Aldergrove and set up a Facebook page in August to voice his concerns and rally support.
“I offered to put together a quick, one-page website with an email form, and StopTheSmell.ca was born,” says Bateman. “John is doing all the legwork and the Facebook group.”
The petition on the site targets the Agricultural Land Commission’s enthusiasm for regulating other forms of construction while turning a blind eye to cannabis facilities.
“The ALC seems to have plenty of time to enforce building rules, fill applications, farmland uses, mobile home applications, and other rules – it’s time they enforce this one,” says a form letter addressed to Premier John Horgan.
ALC compliance and enforcement staff are limited to enforcing the commission’s own regulations, however, not federal law. Regardless, Cameron says cannabis farms need to be good neighbours.
“The solution is as simple as this,” he says. “Show respect for the neighbours and contain the smell; they were here first.”
The initiative parallels moves by Metro Vancouver to regulate missions from cannabis facilities.
However, the BC Agriculture Council notes that cannabis is a permitted farm use and farms of any sort will generate some level of odour. It objects to measures that would introduce regulations for cannabis that could be extended to other types of production.
BCAC recommends that complaints regarding odour be taken to the BC Farm Industry Review Board, the tribunal appointed to deal with complaints regarding farm practices.