• John Jantak

Vaudreuil-Dorion prepares for two cannabis growing ventures


PHOTO COURTESY PEXELS

As the day moves closer to the legalization of cannabis throughout Canada this summer, two marijuana growing facilities are set to be built in Vaudreuil-Dorion, announced Mayor Guy Pilon at the Monday evening council meeting on April 16. A public consultation to discuss the matter will be held at city hall on Monday, May 7 at 7 p.m.

One facility will be dedicated to growing recreational marijuana and will be located in the city’s agricultural zone and the second will be involved in medical marijuana research and be built in the industrial zone.

Since the city can’t reject applicants from setting up shop in the city, Pilon said council decided to restrict these facilities to operate only in its agricultural and industrial areas.

“We have to put them somewhere,” Pilon told The Journal. “We cannot say you can’t build anything like that on our territory. Everything will be grown inside a building. People were afraid the cannabis would be grown directly in the fields.”

Cannabis research facility

The cannabis research facility will not be selling its marijuana to the public, said Pilon. “There is a company that wants to cultivate cannabis for medical research. They want to do what they can to help improve people’s health. It’ll be grown for pharmaceutical purposes and they’ll be doing their own studies. They will not be selling to anyone,” said Pilon.

PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon, sporting a green ribbon along with the entire council to promote organ donation awareness, said two cannabis growing facilities will be built in the city’s agricultural and industrial zones. A public consultation is scheduled at city hall on Monday, May at 7 p.m.

“They need to do a lot of research on it and do different kinds of trials. They have requests from companies that have been accredited by the federal government that work with universities and research centres to do some studies and grow specific strains of cannabis,” Pilon added.

It’s uncertain whether the city will receive more applications for marijuana cultivation even though Pilon feels the market could become quickly saturated with abundant cannabis. “We cannot stop people or say enough of this. At one point, the federal and provincial governments will say enough is enough, I guess,” said Pilon.

Municipal enforcement

What bothers Pilon more is what effect the cannabis legalization will have regarding its sale and consumption in the city. “What I’m anxious to see is where the regular user will get his cannabis. Will it be from the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ), the pharmacy or a coffee shop? We don’t know. This is the part that makes me nervous,” said Pilon.

Pilon is also concerned about the onus that will be placed on municipalities to regulate the use of cannabis in their individual jurisdictions. “This is the problem. We are the ones who will have to regulate it. We are the ones at the end of the line which is why we’re going to ask for some money because we are the ones who are going to have to pay for enforcement,” he said.

Ambiguous grey zone

While current non-smoking by-laws will also apply to cannabis, other aspects of public consumption will fall into an ambiguous grey zone, said Pilon. “The smoking of cannabis will be banned in the same places as cigarettes. People will not be able to smoke in parks and near or inside public buildings. This is the minimum,” he said.

Smoking cannabis in other public places could be more difficult to enforce, according to Pilon. “It will be very hard to say something to someone who is smoking on the street, especially since we don’t have any municipal police. We are very dependent on the Sûreté du Québec (SQ). Towns can implement whatever by-laws they want but you have to put in the effort to enforce it,” he said.

Another worry has to do with condo owners who smoke and those who don’t smoke marijuana, said Pilon. “There may be people who will use it from time-to-time. Imagine the smell in the corridors,” he said. “Who will implement a law in the building? The owner? Some buildings don’t have one owner because they’re all owners.”

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