Sackville may soon have its first legal marijuana growing operation if town council agrees to change zoning bylaws.
Middle Sackville residents Danny Fillmore and Sari Weinberg have applied for permission to set up a 2,150 square-foot greenhouse on agricultural land at the rear of their property on Main Street near School Lane where they plan to grow high-quality, organic cannabis under a federal licence.
However, at its meeting on Monday, town planner Lori Bickford told council the current bylaw does not permit cannabis grow-ops in areas zoned agricultural, although other municipalities in the region are starting to accept such small, micro-cultivation facilities as an agricultural activity.
Bickford served notice that at council’s regular meeting next week, a motion will be introduced asking whether councillors would be willing to consider changing the town’s zoning bylaws to permit small, cannabis grow-ops in an agricultural zone.
If council passes the motion next Tuesday, the regional planning committee would be asked for its comments and a public hearing would be scheduled before council could give an amended bylaw the required three readings.
In an e-mail to Warktimes, Bickford says the process to meet all the legal requirements would take about three to four months.
Farming and business
During a telephone interview, Danny Fillmore and Sari Weinberg said their cannabis growing facility would be near the existing Anderson’s Greenhouse garden centre on School Lane.
Fillmore said he has grown small amounts of cannabis legally in British Columbia and in Sackville, but now mainly produces garlic, kale, squash, carrots and other vegetables in raised beds on his property.
“I think I’m more of a farmer wanting to get into a business,” he says when asked how he would describe himself.
“We are in the system with Health Canada for licensing,” Weinberg says, “but we can’t move forward unless we have the permission to have the [bylaw] changed and start building on our property.”
She adds that they’re working with a legal team that has extensive experience with marijuana.
Fillmore says they also have a licensed distributor to handle their product and they expect to employ about five workers.
“We even have a company that will be making it into edibles as well,” Weinberg says.
“We’re all set, we’re ready to go,” Fillmore adds, “we just need the blessing from our town.”