The current marijuana bunker is operated by Evergreen Medicinal near Michell Farms. (Hugo Wong/News Staff)

ALR protection petition reaches B.C. Legislature

Group opposing marijuana greenhouses collects 1,400 signatures

The Citizens for Protecting Agricultural Land (CPAL) have collected over 1,400 signatures to support their cause, and it will be presented in the House on Thursday by MLA Adam Olsen.

The petition was concerned with paving over ALR land for any purpose, but was prompted by a proposal to place greenhouses on the former Stanhope Dairy Farm by Evergreen Medicinal on Vancouver Island.

The group have stated they are not against the production of marijuana per se, but they would prefer to see it on industrial land since marijuana is typically grown indoors.

Olsen has raised the issue of marijuana grow-ops on ALR land with Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham, said Olsen’s chief of staff Aldous Sperl.

“It’s highlighting that there is a substantial number of people in his riding that care about the issue,” said Sperl.

Olsen has also committed to trying to get the minister to meet with the group, said Sperl.

CPAL communications co-ordinator Ken Marriette said the group met with Olsen, and he committed to deliver their petition in the House before the end of this sitting. Olsen invited up to 10 members of CPAL to watch from the gallery. Marriette said Central Saanich mayor Ryan Windsor has also committed to helping the group. The District of Central Saanich has sent a letter to Minister Popham requesting a six-month moratorium on growing marijuana on ALR land, which passed unanimously at the council level.

Marriette said the group was told a petition would “fall on deaf ears,” because if the government truly wanted to regulate this, they would have done so already. The group, however, was undeterred. They heard there was a public consultation on ALR land launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Minister Popham, and they tried to get to a public meeting in Nanaimo, but it was full.

Marriette said he was told by Popham’s office that meaningful changes would not take place until the fall of this year or the spring of 2019. With that in mind, the group began campaigning for a moratorium. “Stop this now, because that will give us some breathing room, because the more you leave this door open, the more horses leave the barn, the harder it’ll be to fix it.”

The group started collecting signatures province-wide, but soon narrowed their focus to Vancouver Island.

“I have a niece in Chilliwack who lives in a farming community who sent over 84 of them,” said Marriette. “It’s delightful.”

Marriette said since the house is only in session for a few more days, a meeting was not likely, but the Minister’s office told him to “keep asking, and we’ll try to fit you in when the appropriate time is here.”

“We would consider it a minor, positive step forward if [Popham] called for a moratorium and did some hard thinking about where these [greenhouses] belong,” said Marriette.

Just Posted

Needles killer frightened many in our town: BC author

Roy Bugera disrupted life in a quiet Vancouver Island village before moving to Arrow Lakes

Video: MP hears pot, pipeline and politics concerns

South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP hosts town hall forum in Penticton

Health Minister says coming changes will make difference in rural communities.

“As a government, Premier Horgan is committed to improving the ambulance service.”

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

B.C. cyclist races to first win of the season in New Zealand

Casey Brown captures Enduro title by more than two minutes at Crankworx Rotorua

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Canada earns second Paralympic Games silver in 20 years

Held 1-0 lead in para hockey game from 12:06 of first to dying seconds of third and lost in overtime

LETTERS: Two views of oil pipeline protests

U.S. and other petroleum-rich countries aren’t cutting production

Most Read