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OMAFRA to Town, 'cannabis crops qualifies as an agricultural use'

Posted February 7, 2020

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has come down on the side of the proponent of a cannabis micro-cultivation facility at 5776 11th Line in New Tecumseth as it fits the definition of agricultural uses permitted in the prime agricultural area.

The subject property, located within a prime agricultural area, is approximately 1.32 hectares (3.26 acres). It includes a vacant detached home and accessory structure, surrounded by agricultural and some rural residential neighbours, the nearest about 300 metres away.

The licenced growing operation will be located within the existing farm building cluster, within a 754 square meter (9,117 square feet) building.

New Tecumseth council deferred voting on the zoning amendment at its last meeting, seeking further clarification from OMAFRA as to land use issues with cannabis grow operations.

An update to council on Monday night includes OMAFRA's comments noting cannabis is regulated by the federal government.

"Under these regulations, licensed producers are permitted to conduct a number of activities, including the production of the cannabis crop. These activities result in different land uses, which are regulated through the land use planning system. Some of these uses can be considered agricultural uses, while others may be considered agriculture-related uses.

"Cannabis is a crop that produces "a harvestable product and may be used for a variety of purposes beyond food production" and it can require "on-farm buildings and structures associated with growing crops are also considered agricultural uses. This includes greenhouses or other structures used for growing plants."

"Based on this, the growing of cannabis crops qualifies as an agricultural use as per the PPS, including the growing of this crop in greenhouses or other structures. The outdoor cultivation of cannabis is also considered permitted. Ancillary uses relating to the principle use of growing cannabis could be permitted as agriculture-related uses or on-farm diversified uses."

All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri