Saanich’s first legal marijuana facility heads to public hearing

A federally licensed marijuana facility in Saanich waiting for approval from Saanich to sell its product to patients by mail order

A federally licensed marijuana facility in Saanich is ready to sell its product to patients across Canada, but it first needs to pass through public hearing.

Thunderbird Biomedical Inc. CEO Rob Gagnon told council Oct. 6 that his company is already conducting marijuana research and development at a light industrial site on Commerce Circle in Saanich’s Glanford neighbourhood.

Gagnon was applying for a zoning amendment that would allow dried medical marijuana to be sold to patients by mail order from the facility.

Gagnon declined an interview request from the News, but Coun. Susan Brice said the company has been actively fielding questions from residents and providing tours of the site to alleviate fears about such a facility near a residential neighbourhood.

“Given (Gagnon’s) interaction with neighbours and the community associations, there was enough to send the rezoning bylaw application to public hearing,” Brice said. A public hearing date has not yet been set, she added.

Gagnon has reassured residents and council that stringent security measures are in place that include at least 36 surveillance cameras at the site.

Should the zoning amendment pass, Thunderbird will be restricted to mail-order sales with no opportunity for on-site retail.

Richard Wanbon, whose Springridge Crescent home backs onto the lot adjacent to Thunderbird’s unit, said most of his concerns have been alleviated but he worries that the potential legalization of marijuana could lead to future on-site sales.

“If the drug schedules change for marijuana in the future, I want to ensure users aren’t coming to the facility,” Wanbon said. “I hope some protection along those lines can be written into the zoning bylaws.”

A staff report from Saanich director of planning Sharon Hvozdanski recommended amending the zoning bylaw to permit licensed medical marijuana production.

Another company, Evergreen Medicinal Supply, operates a legal grow-op on agricultural land in Central Saanich. Under ALR rules, medical marijuana production is an allowable land use and does not require municipal approval.

Thunderbird Biomedical, one of only 13 companies with a licence to produce and sell medical marijuana in Canada, plans to open an additional facility on Hillside Avenue in Victoria, Gagnon told Saanich council. Further details were not available.

Thunderbird’s parent company, T-Bird Pharma Inc., trades on the TSX Venture Exchange.

Federal laws governing medical marijuana will soon change after the B.C. Court of Appeal upheld a decision in August that means medicinal marijuana suppliers will soon be able to produce edible, topical and other ingestible products. The case stemmed from a 2009 Victoria police raid of the Cannibis Buyers Club of Canada, a medicinal marijuana dispensary in downtown Victoria. The federal government has until August 2015 to create new legislation that complies with the ruling, unless the case heads to the Supreme Court of Canada on appeal.

– The province views medical-marijuana production as an allowable farm use within ALR property. However, medical marijuana does not qualify for farming tax exemptions.

– with files from Daniel Palmer

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

Scam arrives on Saanich senior’s doorstep

Pair of fraudulent officers threaten to arrest 90-year-old woman

Project provides barrier to suicides at hospital parkade

VIHA budgets $650,000 for work at Royal Jubilee Hospital parkade

Pandora supervised consumption site has busy first month

Site whose aim is to save lives takes on a new client-driven name: The Harbour

Victoria’s plastic bag ban inspires local entrepreneur to give back

Karebags a local, collaborative alternative for reusable bags, donates profits to charity

VIDEO: How we make our newspapers

Ever wonder how Black Press Media gets over 100,000 papers out to your communities?

Wildfire evacuation order forces bride to search for new wedding venue

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is under an order due to the Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland

Recent online kitten abuse video raises serious social media questions

UBC and UFV profs weigh in on the subject of online sharing, shaming, and our digital landscape

RV insurance costs $1,000 more in B.C. than in Alberta: taxpayers group

Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging the provincial government to open up ICBC to competition

Summerland issues State of Local Emergency in response to wildfire

Two homes under evacuation order; evacuation alert remains in place as result of wildfire

A brother’s determination pushes B.C. cyclist to ride 2,500 km for heart care

#Cunnycan: Ryan Cunningham ‘pushing the envelope’ to support brother Craig’s foundation

Greater Victoria prices continue to rise as market shows signs of cooling

A survey shows the aggregate price of a home in Victoria increased… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach, nurse was killed in case of mistaken identity, police say

In Surrey, Paul Bennett’s wife makes a tearful plea for help in finding her husband’s killer

Most Read