Mayors debate cannabis legalization impacts on agriculture and Metro Vancouver food security

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      This afternoon (July 6) members of the Metro Vancouver Regional District Mayors Committee are meeting in Burnaby and Canada's pending regulations to legalize recreational cannabis are the subject of the day.

      Chaired Port Coquitlam mayor Greg Moore, the gathering of mayors from across the region is primarily discussing how a legitimatized market for marijuana will affect land set aside for agriculture.

      "The regulations for the Cannabis Act have been released and confirm that cannabis production will be permitted in greenhouses and outdoors as opposed to only in highly secure indoor facilities as was the case for medical marihuana production pre-legalization," reads mayors committee report.

      Beyond those instructions, the federal Cannabis Act, which received royal assent on June 21, leaves a majority of nuts-and-bolts regulations for cannabis production and sales up to the provinces and local authorities.

      The mayors committee report states that questions that must be addressed include how companies should dispose of waste produced as a result of cannabis cultivation, how impacts on air quality should be addressed, and how the committee should handle the possibility that cannabis will displace traditional food crops across Metro Vancouver.

      "Only 1.1% of the land area in BC is prime agricultural land, and this land is needed for food security and to reduce British Columbia’s reliance on imported produce," the report reads. " Therefore, be it resolved that the provincial government be requested to prohibit or place restrictions on the use of ALR land for cannabis cultivation."

      The Cannabis Act is scheduled to take effect on October 17, 2018.