Brandon Wright, chief executive officer and general manager of Baked Edibles, grew up in Saanich. He is currently looking for a suitable location in the area to build a processing facility for edible cannabis products. He hopes Saanich will work with industry in predicting that the municipality will eventually abandon its current prohibitive approach towards cannabis retail, production and processing. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Brandon Wright, chief executive officer and general manager of Baked Edibles, grew up in Saanich. He is currently looking for a suitable location in the area to build a processing facility for edible cannabis products. He hopes Saanich will work with industry in predicting that the municipality will eventually abandon its current prohibitive approach towards cannabis retail, production and processing. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Cannabis plant sets sights on Saanich

A local entrepreneur who wants to open a plant processing cannabis says Saanich has been “extremely conservative” in its approach towards the pending legalization of recreational cannabis, but also recognizes the advantages of this approach.

“I do support what they [Saanich] are doing,” said Brandon Wright, chief executive officer and general manager of Baked Edibles. “It’s a conservative approach, but it allows a breadth of control.”

The company supplies cookies, spreads and other food products infused with cannabis.

Wright made these comments in an interview after appearing before Saanich council Tuesday when the municipality held a public hearing into bylaw changes that will see Saanich move towards a “full” prohibition of the sale, production and distribution of recreational cannabis until staff have had an opportunity to review federal and provincial legislation.

The federal government announced Wednesday that the production, purchase and consumption of recreational cannabis would become legal Oct. 17, 2018 to give provincial governments across time to implement their respective distribution mechanisms. British Columbia will use a mixed-model of public and privately-licensed retailers to make the product available.

Saanich, however, has opted for “full prohibition” with staff citing a “[lack] of detailed information” from federal and provincial officials. “This is a fast-moving and evolving issue and information continues to be released,” said Sharon Hvozdanski, Saanich’s director of planning in the report last month.

Wright thinks that Saanich’s prohibition will only be temporary, in predicting that cannabis will eventually become as available in Saanich as alcohol today.

Wright understands Saanich’s decision to give itself more to develop regulation. On the other hand, Saanich risks losing opportunity to give cannabis-related enterprises the chance to plan ahead.

Cannabis producers currently find themselves in a “land race” for suitable properties and investments will take place in the next twelve months, he said.

Smaller, community-based enterprises, do not have the financial resources to wait until local governments have worked out various issues such as permitted locations. Larger companies, on the other hand, have the financial means to lease out space, then sit on it while waiting on regulation, he said.

Wright’s company is a processor of cannabis, a category not yet covered by existing legislation. Baked Edibles currently operates under the jurisdictional protection of a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that permits medical marijuana patients to consume marijuana in all forms. Wright anticipates that the federal government will have developed the necessary legislation within the next year.

In the meantime, he has been scouting locations around southern Vancouver Island for a larger processing facility, ranging between 20,000 and 30,000 square-feet. That search has included Saanich. While Wright will not reveal which sites he has scouted so far, he told Saanich council that cannabis producers would like to prefer lots zoned light industrial or even commercial in raising concerns about council’s decision to limit marijuana production to land in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Council Monday also heard from Adam Carmichael of Tree Dispensary Island Grown, a Victoria-based chain of dispensaries. He said council’s approach is consistent with developments elsewhere in echoing Wright. If Saanich were to create a regime for retail operations, he recommends following best practices elsewhere.

He also encourages Saanich to keep the industry informed as staff develop the regime to help the industry scout out locations and engage the community to help build the necessary support.

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

A resurfacing of the tennis court in Metchosin is being eyed for the community. However, funding opportunities still need to be solidified for the project. (Michelle Cabana/Black Press Media)
Renewed surface eyed for Metchosin tennis court

Funding source must first be solidified in order for project to happen

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Most Read