By Mike Renzella
The Haldimand Press
WATERFORD—Residents of Haldimand and Norfolk spoke out against unmonitored cannabis production at an information session held at Waterford District High School recently. Over 400 people filled the gymnasium to listen to a lineup of speakers that included a County planner, a real estate representative, MPP Toby Barrett, a representative from a local licensed cannabis producer, and members of the OPP Provincial Cannabis Task Force.
Local resident Debbie France spoke to the assembled crowd about her personal experience living in close proximity to an unlicensed cannabis production facility: “We are not against marijuana, but rather against the fact that Medicinal Cannabis Designated Growers are unmonitored and have no odour control, production standards, and set operating procedures that would encompass the health and safety of our residents.”
France’s situation began in 2017, when a tomato greenhouse located on Townsend Concession Road 14 was bought and converted into a medicinal cannabis facility.
When the federal government was making changes to federal cannabis licensing and regulations in the lead up to the legalization of recreational cannabis use in Canada, a new categorization was formed for individual/designated growers, known as alternative production sites. Lacking clear federal regulations, these sites spread quickly throughout Haldimand and Norfolk counties.