Fort Erie wants federal help with illegal marijuana growers

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Published June 22, 2021 at 6:14 pm

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A ‘growing’ problem ‘cropped’ up at last night’s Fort Erie Town Council meeting.

Noting that the town seemed to be having trouble curtailing the activities of illegal marijuana growers, Ward 6 Councillor Ann-Marie Noyes reached out to a higher power – the federal government.

In a motion brought to the June 21 Council meeting, Noyes expressed exasperation with trying to enforce the laws around these activities so she brought forth a motion hoping to put a little more bite into the Town’s bark.

Her motion noted that “there have been a number of illegal cannabis grow operations within the Town of Fort Erie; these illegal cannabis operations take significant municipal and regional manpower to control, and pose a significant threat to nearby communities; monetary fines and penalties do not restrict cannabis growers from future illegal cannabis activities on the lands, and do not appear to be enough of a deterrent.”

It continued, “Operating an illegal cannabis grow operation does not restrict the owners from applying for a legal licence to Health Canada through another responsible person and the licensed operators for the grow facilities may be producing for owners or owners within a corporation previously convicted of an offence.”

Then she tossed the ball into the Federal Government’s court.

She asked that “the Federal Government look at prohibiting the ability to obtain a licence to grow cannabis if any of the owners including those owners within a corporation have ever been convicted of operating an illegal cannabis operation.”

The motion continued, “The Federal Government (restrict) lands previously operated for illegal cannabis use from obtaining a licence for a period of five years from the date of the offence.”

Then she concluded, “The Federal Government require that before submitting an application to the Minister for a licence for cultivation, a licence for processing or a licence for sale that authorizes the possession of cannabis, the person that intends to submit the application must first obtain a letter of compliance from the following authorities in the area in which the site referred to in the application is located: the local government; the local fire authority and the local police force or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment that is responsible for providing policing services to that area.”

A copy of this resolution, once passed, will now sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Health Minister Patty Hajdu, all MPs, all Ontario municipalities, the Niagara Regional Police and the RCMP.

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