Metro Vancouver staff link cannabis operations to noise, light, odours, emissions, and even smog

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More concerns are being expressed by bureaucrats about the cannabis industry.

report going to the Metro Vancouver board on Friday (July 27) reveals that staff have initiated discussions provincial and federal agencies about cannabis.

There are also talks with Metro Vancouver's counterparts in the State of Washington.

One of the biggest issues is the smell emanating from this industry.

"In addition to odour and other air contaminants, there are also concerns about noise and light," the report states.

"There is a concern about increased emissions of nitrogen oxides from boilers, and volatile organic compounds (specifically, terpene emissions); together these emissions can react in the atmosphere and lead to secondary formation of ground-level ozone [smog] in the airshed," it adds.

Smog has long been a major issue for Metro Vancouver.

"Concerns have also been expressed about the odour masking agents that are being used by some facilities," the report continues. "Agencies in Washington State have advised that best practices for cannabis cultivation facilities include full enclosures, with greenhouse operations kept under negative pressure, such that emissions can be captured and directed to suitable control technologies, such as activated carbon filters or bio-filters."

Earlier this month, the B.C. government authorized local governments and municipalities to ban cannabis production on farmland under certain conditions.

For example, this can occur if there are "cement-based, industrial-style, cannabis-production bunkers" on property within the Agricultural Land Reserve.

However, lawfully produced cannabis cannot be made illegal by First Nations and local governments if it's grown in an open field or in a structure that has a soil base in an existing licensed operation.

Regional government regulates the airshed

Under the Environmental Management Act, Metro Vancouver has authority to regulate air quality within its boundaries.

According to the Metro Vancouver staff report, there's been "an increased number of odour complaints related to cannabis cultivation facilities".

Metro Vancouver has previously argued that cannabis production is better suited on industrial-zoned land rather than on agricultural land.

"Historically, from an air quality perspective, efforts to manage emissions from agricultural operations have been complicated by Right to Farm legislation, where normal farm practices are protected and a farmer is not liable in nuisance to any person for any odour, noise, dust or other disturbance resulting from the farm operation," the report states.

The report does not carry any recommendations. Nor does it mention any positive aspects related to the cannabis industry, such as the plant's potential benefits in reducing opiate deaths and alleviating medical conditions.

The report acknowledges that Metro Vancouver has an "explicit policy direction to emphasize and promote food production on agricultural land in the region".

"However, there is no direction to prohibit or advocate to prohibit or advocate for the relocation of non-food producing agriculture to industrial lands," it adds. "That said, there is a long standing dialogue about the appropriate location for these types of agri-industrial uses, and as the attached staff report notes, this issue will be addressed in part through the development of the Regional Industrial Lands Strategy."