North Grenville council has passed an interim control bylaw to put a pause on the establishment or expansion of cannabis-related businesses in the municipality for up to one year. Deputy Mayor Jim Mcmanaman pointed out that NG is not the only municipality to implement an interim control by-law surrounding cannabis as it is a new industry that is growing quickly with very few controls in place.
The need for the bylaw was made apparent when several residents who live close to North Grenville’s only operating cannabis producer, Fleurish Cannabis, made complaints to the municipality about odour, noise and light pollution from the facility on County Road 20.
By engaging with affected residents, and working with Fleurish Cannabis, many of the issues which were brought up have been rectified. Because of this, CEO of Fleurish, Michael Smith, was concerned when council first considered the idea of the interim control by-law earlier this summer. Michael believed that, should the interim control by-law be put in place, it would seriously limit his business, which is in the process of growing and changing with the evolving landscape of cannabis production and sales in Ontario.
After much discussion with Fleurish and another company, Era Cannabis, which is in the site plan stage of establishing their business in North Grenville, council has decided to implement the interim control bylaw, but offer an exemption to both businesses. “We are encouraged by what we have seen, as some progress in regard to particular complaints when it came to the early stages of setting up a cannabis business,” Mayor Nancy Peckford said at the council meeting. “It was negotiations with the company and with our planning department which enabled us to see the value to step back. Open for business does not mean open season on our residents.”
Mayor Peckford says that, with the exemption, she expects that both Fleurish and Era will continue to be responsive and work with the municipality when it comes to the concerns of the residents. “My consideration of an exemption for the two companies in question is based upon a positive working relationship and the capacity to respond and resolve resident concerns,” she said. “I fully expect that relationship and that commitment to resolve residents’ concerns to continue.”
Deputy Mayor McManaman does not think the bylaw will need to be in place for the entire twelve months. “I expect that, in talking with Director Gerrard, we can get the research done pretty quick,” he said. “We are 85 to 90 per cent there already.”
Councillor John Barclay believes the interim control bylaw is a very prudent approach, and hopes that the business community understands that they have a very responsible partner in council. “I would like to thank Fleurish and Era for their patience and trusting us to come up with a good solution,” he said.