Sam Mellace has been growing medical marijuana legally on agricultural land in FVRD Area F for a decade. FVRD's proposed zoning bylaws will permit him to remain on his land

Grow-ops welcomed in some FVRD areas; shunned in others

Big differences in how electoral areas and cities propose to regulate medical marijuana production.

Local communities are adopting widely divergent rules when it comes to regulating the production of medical marijuana.

Electoral areas and municipalities in the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) are deciding whether or not they will allow commercial grow-ops in their territories – and if so, under what type of zoning. The deliberations come in advance of new Health Canada rules, in effect April 2014, that prohibit medical marijuana users from growing their own supplies and restrict all production to largescale commercial operations.

FVRD electoral area directors have submitted their proposed zoning regulations, and each has a different approach. Area D, for instance, has proposed to ban grow-ops completely; Area A has proposed to allow them everywhere within its boundary.

Director Bill Dickey represents Area D, which covers Popkum and Bridal Falls.

“My community has its own character and personality, and I looked at the community and talked to some of our citizens, and my decision was that it should be prohibited in our community. We’re not looking to encourage that type of business,” said Dickey.

Area A director Lloyd Forman welcomes legal medical marijuana production facilities anywhere in his area, which includes Boston Bar. Forman explained that when a sawmill relocated from the area to Surrey some years ago, Boston Bar lost 300 jobs, and the community went from being the wealthiest in the district to the poorest.

“Jobs are really crucial on the list. My theory is, give me 25 or 30 legal jobs, and I’ll take them. Period,” said Forman.

Without business moving to the area, Forman is worried the community will start losing its existing services – the grocery store, the gas station – and living there will be very difficult.

“Whatever it takes for that level (of services), we do need something. So if it’s a marijuana plant, my people do not want to be left without any services,” said Forman.

FVRD Electoral Areas B and G propose to allow grow-ops in agricultural, industrial, and rural zones, with the exception of Yale town. Area F seeks to allow them in agricultural and industrial zones, while Area C wants to allow them in agricultural areas only.

Abbotsford and Mission, each an FVRD member municipality, have bylaws under consideration that ban new grow-ops entirely. Chilliwack has opted to restrict them to a special industrial zone reserved for businesses such as slaughterhouses and asphalt manufacturers.

After FVRD staff draw up the draft zoning bylaw amendments for electoral areas, the proposed regulations will go to public hearing and for approval by the board of directors.

Just Posted

‘An officer and a gentleman’: Const. John Davidson is laid to rest

Thousands attend memorial service for slain Abbotsford Police officer

UFV Town & Gown event raises $85,000 in one night; $200,000 in 2017

Supporters from all over the Fraser Valley and beyond gathered in Abbotsford for the third annual Town & Gown fundraising dinner.

Heavy downpours expected in parts of Metro Vancouver

Heavy rain will begin to ease off Sunday evening as the frontal system moves south out of the area

Police investigate string of overnight fires in North Delta

Suspected arson caused damage to vehicles, signage in the area, Delta Police say

The bald and the beautiful

Locals send in their best bald eagle shots

VIDEO: Coquihalla closed both directions near Merritt

Detours are available via Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 1

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week.

PHOTOS: Procession and funeral for Const. John Davidson

Thousands attended celebration of life for Abbotsford police officer

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates debate different paths for party

Third debate held Sunday, Nov. 19 at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Apology to Canadians persecuted for being gay coming Nov. 28: Trudeau

Thousands were fired from the military, RCMP and public service because of their sexual orientation

Heavy rains, winds hit B.C.’s south coast

Localized flooding, gusts up to 70 km/hr expected for the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island

High winds cancel slew of BC Ferries sailings

Travel to and from Victoria and Vancouver as well as Northern Gulf Islands affected

Most Read