District staff confirm the former houseboat manufacturing facility on Monashee Frontage Road is currently being used for legal medical marijuana production

District staff confirm the former houseboat manufacturing facility on Monashee Frontage Road is currently being used for legal medical marijuana production

Second medical marijuana facility proposed for Sicamous

District confirms company already operating under old regulations.

There are now two applications for licensed medical marijuana production facilities in Sicamous.

At last week’s committee of the whole meeting, District of Sicamous community planner Mike Marrs informed municipal council that he’s received notice of a new application being submitted to the federal government for a licensed medical marijuana production facility. Marrs said he’s not aware of where the facility would be going, and that staff will not be doing anything about it until such time as a licence is awarded and the applicant comes to the district with a defined proposal.

Marrs also updated council on another application, this one from 1937 Enterprises Inc., to establish a licensed medical marijuana production facility at Waterway Houseboats’ Monashee Frontage Road manufacturing facility. Marrs said the company, which runs the website bcorganicbud.com, had not yet been awarded a licence under the federal government’s new regulations for the commercial production of medical marijuana.

“We will be issuing a memo to 1937 Enterprises, which again is the Waterway property, in regard to their business licence application and turning it down,” said Marrs. “We are not in… a legal position to issue that business licence because our bylaws refer to a licensed marijuana production facility. It is not licensed at this point in time, nor has it met any criteria of the zoning bylaw…

“Further, we have not conducted inspections over there relative to the business licence. That could be an issue as well. I will be sending out notification to them just to keep them advised because we have a 90-day time frame under the local government act to respond to the withholding of that licence.”

Marrs noted the Waterway manufacturing facility is currently in use, prompting Coun. Fred Busch to ask, what for?

Marrs said it’s being used for the licensed production of medical marijuana for clients who have a medical licence to use it.

To this, Busch asked what the difference is between what is being proposed and what’s happening now.

“It’s quite substantial,” replied Marrs. “The volume and the production level is significantly higher – it can be, it depends on the licence that is granted by Ottawa. And the new licensing would fall under the new regime in terms of medical marijuana production, so they can actually manufacture and sell it as a commercial operation.”

Marrs went on to explain district staff was never informed or made aware of a business licence being granted for that use, which he guessed has been going on for a year or two.

“When I made inquiries to our local detachment, they did some research on it, and the sergeant came back to me and indicated they were operating under the old set-up… and have the ability to do it. There was no legal requirement for them to notify the district,” said Marrs, adding the federal government’s new regulations, which move marijuana production from households to commercial facilities, were supposed to come into effect in April. However, a federal court granted a temporary injunction preventing the changeover, allowing time for the new regulations to be contested. That injunction is being contested by the federal government.

At the March 26 council meeting, a lawyer representing Waterway Houseboats spoke against a proposed district bylaw amendment for medical marijuana production. Jeff Robinson of Rush Ihas Hardwick argued that setbacks prescribed in the bylaw would prohibit his client’s tenant from using the former manufacturing facility for the production of medical marijuana. Council, however, voted in favour of the bylaw.

A biography on the 1937 Enterprises website describes the company as a family-owned business located in Sicamous.

“The family has a background in the tourism business and is starting up this new venture as a way of expanding our local economy during this exciting changeover in the business regulations concerning the marijuana industry,” states the website, which offers a “free gram of weed” to those who sign up early.

As of July 24, there were 13 licences approved by Health Canada for medical marijuana production under the new regulations. Five of those are B.C.-based businesses.