By Chris Pickup

Dunnville Councillor Bernie Corbett is concerned about marijuana grow ops in residential areas. 

While households are allowed to grow four plants for their own use, “when it gets up to 200 in a residential area it’s quite a problem”, he told Haldimand council Tuesday.

The major problem revolves around medical marijuana.

Leamington has passed a bylaw that restricts the weed to industrial and agricultural areas and Corbett wants a similar bylaw in Haldimand.

“We’re not alone in this, it’s all across the province.”

Mayor Ken Hewitt feels the same.  However, “there’s a glaring item – policing, its effectiveness and ability to enforce.”

Leamington’s bylaw is currently being tested in the courts, and the costs are very large on the taxpayers’ bill, Hewitt added.

It has to come from the top down, not local planning. We need a strategic policy from Ontario. 

I support it, however it’s a significant cost on the municipality. We need to push Toby” (MPP Barrett).

At a recent cannabis meeting in Norfolk, Barrett claimed it was the responsibility of Health Canada and not the province.

However Hewitt argued Thursday that it was definitely in Toby’s bailiwick. “Medical prescriptions come from provincially licensed doctors and they should clamp down on how licences are being issued. 

“When someone garners a licence to feed a population there has to be something wrong.”

Councillor John Metcalfe agreed there are a lot of cracks in the system, noting there is a website people can contact. 

The feds rushed legalization through leaving municipalities holding the bag.”

County staff Mike Evers noted the county solicitor said it’s outside the jurisdiction of municipal zoning. 

“There’s a right to grow four plants, and for medical reasons the right to grow what they need. There are some outrageous amounts.”

“Norfolk is going though the same thing,” said councillor Stew Patterson. “Maybe we should touch base with them.”