B.C. farmers fight municipal bans on growing cannabis
Published Sunday, October 14, 2018 10:00PM EDT
Some farmers in British Columbia are planning to cash in by switching their crops to cannabis. Others, however, are being blocked by their local governments.
Michael DeGiglio, CEO of Village Farms in Delta, B.C., has already converted some tomato greenhouses to a massive cannabis facility in anticipation of Canada-wide legalization on Oct. 17.
The main motivation is profit. “If you track the price of vegetables ... the price has always gone down” he said.
“The potential for profitability is much greater,” he added.
Village Farms, which has permission to grow cannabis, expects to produce 75,000 kilograms of pot per year at one of its facilities.
The Union of B.C. Municipalities, the voice of local governments in the province, had asked for a moratorium on growing cannabis on agricultural land but the provincial NDP government opted to leave it up to municipalities.
Organic farmer Sheila Martin says she’s missing out. Martin’s municipality, Pitt Meadows, has banned cannabis cultivation over concerns that it will degrade farmland, reduce food security and compromise safety.
“They’re inputting rules that have no basis on the quality of the crop or security,” she said.
Bhupinder Dhiman, from the Richmond Farmers Association, is fighting on behalf of farmers who are considering taking municipalities like the City of Richmond to court over local bans.
“If it’s a legalized product then we should be able to grow it if we choose to do so,” he said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver Bureau Chief Melanie Nagy