|Photo: Lincoln Clarke|
|If this is your garden and you live in Pitt Meadows, Mayor Don MacLean has a message for you: Get the hell out of town.|
Pitt Meadows may be the ban-happy capital of Canada.
The list of outlawed businesses in the sleepy little British Columbia town include massage parlors, X-rated video stores, strip bars, hydroponic gardening stores, nuclear power plants, used car lots, and even giant advertising icons placed on the tops of buildings — you know, those big gorillas you see at car dealerships.
Existing municipal bylaws ban all those things in Pitt Meadows, and now they’re going after legal medical marijuana — the first town in Canada to do so, reports Rod Mickleburgh at The Globe And Mail.
“We are just saying ‘no,'” said Pitt Meadows’ longtime mayor, obvious Nancy Reagan fan Don MacLean, of the town’s move to ban the production of medical marijuana.
|Photo: City of Pitt Meadows|
|Mayor Don MacLean: “Health Canada does not control our bylaws, and under this proposed bylaw, the growing of medical marijuana will not be a permitted use in Pitt Meadows”|
MacLean claimed it is “too difficult” to determine which marijuana production facilities are legal and which are not — so the town is just banning them all.
Mayor MacLean said the proposed bylaw change banning marijuana was likely to pass unanimously at Tuesday evening’s council meeting — despite the fact that production of cannabis for medicinal purposes is legal, when sanctioned by Health Canada.
But the mayor doesn’t care what Health Canada says is legal.
“Health Canada does not control our zoning bylaws, and under this proposed bylaw, the growing of medical marijuana will not be a permitted use in Pitt Meadows,” the mayor defiantly said.
MacLean claimed the bylaw is not aimed at individuals growing marijuana for their own legal medical use, but rather at third-party operators selling marijuana to patients who don’t grow their own.
The mayor insisted it’s a safety issue.
“We are tired of grow-op houses burning down in our community and threatening the homes of their neighbors,” MacLean said. “We had two fires last year. People don’t feel safe. They’re saying to us: ‘What are you doing about it?'”
Marijuana advocates are promising an all-out fight against the ban.
|Photo: Beyond Prohibition Foundation|
|Kirk Tousaw: “I think it is absolutely immoral and unconscionable to discriminate against Canadians who are chronically ill and who will benefit from cannabis”|
”I think it is absolutely immoral and unconscionable to discriminate against Canadians who are chronically ill and who will benefit from cannabis,” said Kirk Tousaw, a Vancouver lawyer who is executive director of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation.
“This bylaw can be challenged, and it will be challenged,” Tousaw said.
Tousaw said Canadians have, for the past decade, enjoyed the legal right to use marijuana to ease suffering from medical conditions.
“We can’t allow sick people’s rights to be abridged like this, born out of baseless fears,” Tousaw said.
Measures such as those being considered by Pitt Meadows will simply drive people growing medical marijuana underground, according to Tousaw.
“It’s the old prohibition thinking,” Tousaw said. “If you drive something underground, it will go away. Actually, it just makes the situation worse and more risky.”
Tousaw said he had never heard of such a municipal restriction in Canada before.