ALC No Longer Reviewing Cannabis Production

The Ministry of Agriculture has undertaken legislative and regulatory amendments that change provincial policy on cannabis production in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). A key change is the classification of all cannabis production in the ALR as farm use. As a result, applications to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) are no longer required for any form of cannabis production in the ALR.

The ALC made this information public in its Revised Information Bulletin 04 – Cannabis Production in the ALR, released in May. The bulletin indicated that, effective February 22, 2019, the Agricultural Land Commission Act and the ALR Use, Subdivision and Procedure Regulation (now the ALR General Regulation) were amended, and the ALR Use Regulation was created.

UBCM was not contacted by the Ministry of Agriculture in advance of these amendments and has followed up with Ministry staff for background information on the changes. The UBCM Executive discussed this issue at their May 2019 meeting and conveyed a letter to the Province outlining concerns and a number of questions. These include: lack of consultation, delay in informing local governments and implications for local monitoring and enforcement.

Under the updated regulation, local governments retain the ability to prohibit and/or regulate provided that cannabis production is not: outside, in a structure with a soil base; or in a structure constructed (but not altered to increase its size); or authorized for construction before July 2018.

However, as applications to the ALC are no longer required for cannabis production in the ALR, the removal of this safeguard means that it is incumbent upon local governments to regulate ALR land within their boundaries if they wish to prohibit certain forms of production.

UBCM will provide an update to the membership once we have received a response from the province.

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