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Getting a grip on legal grow-ops.

The legalization of cultivation and sale of Cannabis has created a new set of issues, especially in urban settings. In Hamilton, councilors have been hearing complaints about the smell of larger Cannabis operations as well as light pollution from the greenhouses. Adding to the problem is a loophole in the federal law that allows a group of individual home growers to pool their relatively small pot quotas with creating large-industrial sized grow operations. Lacking jurisdiction to regulate these operations, Hamilton city council is tacking the issue using its nuisance bylaw powers. Council has agreed to changes in the local bylaw to extend partial control over  grow operations.

The  Staff report supporting the changes noted that “the proposed by-law adds new offences directly related to cannabis cultivation such as:

• causing or permitting the light from the cultivation of cannabis plants to shine

upon the land of others so as to be or to cause a nuisance to any person or to

the public generally;

• causing or permitting an odour from the cultivation of cannabis plants so as to be

or to cause a nuisance to any person or to the public generally.

But staff also cautioned that the city may be on iffy grounds in trying to extend the nuisance bylaw to cannabis. “Although this by-law may help in reducing public nuisance complaints, the regulation and control of cannabis growing is a federal and provincial responsibility, therefore the City should request their help in regulating the effects of nuisance odour and light from cannabis cultivation.” Councillor Clark who supported the bylaw changes said staff worked for a year to come up with bylaw language that had the best chance of being enforceable.

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