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

Just Posted

Saanich councillors slow to respond for feedback on council procedures

Among calls for procedural changes, staff still waiting to hear from six councillors

Saanich sponsors Jeux de la Francophonie giving $50,000 for the French-language Games

Couns. Susan Brice and Nathalie Chambers opposed funding, citing substantive and procedural concerns

VicPD arrest reportedly armed man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

The man was found near Centennial Square on Tuesday afternoon

Port Renfrew man charged with animal cruelty

Hot coffee poured on dog’s face, say police

Sarah McLachlan performs and donors raise $555,000 for inclusive outdoor activities

Power To Be reached their fundraising goal at their Nature Gala on July 12

VIDEO: Black bear caught climbing tree in Langford neighbourhood

Triangle Mountain residents on alert following bear sighting

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

Most Read