Huge MMJ Interest in British Columbia, But Bans Possible

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Entrepreneurs in British Columbia are lining up for Canada’s medical marijuana program, but some communities are trying to keep them out.

Health Canada is currently accepting license applications for medical marijuana businesses, and about one quarter of the country’s 450 applications for commercial cultivation of cannabis have come from British Columbia.

However, some municipalities in the Canadian province – particularly the Vancouver metropolitan region – are raising barriers to prevent cannabis businesses from opening, mirroring what has happened in several U.S. states.

The communities are either asking politicians to allow them to ban the businesses outright, or they are raising barriers to steer cultivation away from designated farmland and into industrial zones.

The Agricultural Land Commission stated in August that cultivators can grow medical marijuana on designated farmland. But any company hoping to enter the medical marijuana industry must obtain a license from the local government.

This could set the stage for multiple legal showdowns on the local level surrounding zoning rules and medical marijuana cultivation. Health Canada will roll out the country’s medical marijuana program on April 1.

Current government estimates put the number of Canadian medical marijuana users at 37,350. That number will likely rise to 450,000 by 2024, according to government estimates.