Elizabethtown set to allow cannabis growing

Cannabis plants. File Photo

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NEW DUBLIN – Elizabethtown-Kitley is planting a seed of change.

Officials are embracing the burgeoning cannabis industry with a new bylaw update that will, among other things, set the stage for businesses to grow the plant at approved locations throughout the township.

Mayor Brant Burrow said while they aren’t actively recruiting cannabis businesses at the moment, they don’t want to be closed to the idea, either.

“We’re just trying to get ahead of it rather than to react,” Burrow said Friday.

“We’re trying to be proactive.”

The revised bylaw proposes to allow both indoor and outdoor cannabis cultivation, but it would need to be grown on land zoned as business park or rural industrial. The update will simply make it clear that cannabis operations are not prohibited, according to the township’s director of planning, Barbara Kalivas.

“We’re just getting ready. We know it’s the future,” she said.

“We just wanted to provide some added clarity that yes, in fact, it’s permitted.”

The intention is simply to modernize the bylaw to be in line with legalization, and Burrow said if the language wasn’t explicitly included, the township would likely be unprepared to deal with such a thriving and potentially promising industry.

“We want to get ahead of what we anticipate to be some inquiries coming our way as that sector continues to grow,” he said.

There are currently no cannabis companies in the township. Burrow said he’s fielded a few informal inquiries from small-scale businesses, but most were seeking clarity on the bylaws and nothing has come to fruition as a result of those talks.

This particular provision is not related to cannabis retail stores, nor does it include cannabis processing facilities. If a processing company wanted to set up in the township, it would need to follow a separate process and meet a separate set of guidelines, including a requirement to be set back a certain distance from residential properties.

Elizabethtown-Kitley voted last year to opt in to cannabis retail stores, but that is a unique process unrelated to the official plan.

The bylaw update is the continuation of a years-long process of the township’s official plan, and it would simply implement the details of the official plan passed in September 2018.

Burrow said he hasn’t yet heard any negative feedback on the idea of allowing cannabis operations, but an open house Monday is intended to have council hear from the public. They will then take that feedback and tweak the bylaw, if appropriate.

The bylaw update being discussed at the upcoming open house includes more than just cannabis. The update is intended to implement policies included in the new official plan, including, but not limited to, source water protection and tiny homes.

The open house is being held on Monday at 6 p.m. in the council chambers.

sbedford@postmedia.com

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