There is no doubt that growing marijuana is going to be a big business. And there is also no doubt that the thinkers that created the Agricultural Land Reserve with the hope of protecting the most fertile soils in Canada never thought that their advocacy could result in places for cannabis growing.
The applications are starting to filter in, including one from “BC Tweed Joint Venture Incorporated” which plans to grow millions of square feet of marijuana in an undisclosed location. Delta farmland has attracted great interest with one application in East Ladner to grow cannabis and extracts for medical and non medical purposes, with a proposed 1.1 million square feet of greenhouse space. To give you an example of how large that area is, the Tsawwassen Mills mega mall is 1.2 million square feet.
As reported in the Delta Optimist the Mayor of Delta has been watching the applications of existing greenhouse operations that want to switch from growing tomatoes to growing the more lucrative cannabis, including one application that wanted to option “an additional 3.7 million square feet of existing highly-efficient greenhouse space”. The Mayor of Delta contacted the Solicitor General Mike Farnsworth to ask if Delta could place restrictions on using farmland for cannabis and instead ask for cannabis to be grown in the industrial warehouses available in the established industrial areas.
The Richmond News noted that the City of Richmond Council voted to oppose cannabis legalization and has asked to be able to regulate it at the municipal level. The concern, as in Delta is seeing prime farm land needed for food security being usurped for cannabis operations. While some of Richmond Council also saw cannabis as being an entry-level drug in the community, it was Harold Steves who observed simply and directly “We should not have farm land which was used for food to grow marijuana.” Harold also has been suggesting that large industrial roofs may lend themselves perfectly for cannabis cultivation, taking pressure off the valued farmland soils.
The federal government has a July 2018 deadline for cannabis legalization and the Provincial government has a feedback survey asking for public input. You have until November 1st to respond.