Legal Pot Producers Say They Need to Grow or They’ll Leave Hamilton

Article by Matthew Van Dongen, Hamilton Spectator

Legal pot producers say they need to grow or they’ll leave Hamilton. Growing flowers of cannabis intended for the medical marijuana market are shown in Moncton, N.B. - The Canadian Press

The city will push the legal medical marijuana industry out of Hamilton if it prevents rural facilities from expanding, say local growers.

Ancaster Coun. Lloyd Ferguson plans to bring a motion to next Wednesday’s council meeting asking for a review of rules governing location and size of licensed medical pot-growing operations. He also wants a moratorium on expansion applications until after the review is complete.

Right now, city zoning rules limit rural grow-ops to a facility size of no more than 2,000 square metres. But Ferguson said he knows of would-be producers seeking to build “concrete bunkers” that would sprawl across 30 hectares of “precious” Hamilton farmland.

The legal marijuana-growing industry is expected to explode as the federal government simultaneously licenses more medicinal producers and moves to legalize recreational pot next year.

There are only four licensed medicinal producers in Hamilton so far — but two of them showed up at a city planning meeting Tuesday to speak against a moratorium and further limits on what they view as necessary expansion.

Beleave Inc. currently has a licensed, operating medical marijuana facility in Flamborough that is 1,300 square metres in size — but the company has applied to the city for a 7,400-square-metre expansion.

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