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Oldcastle residents concerned about proposed cannabis growing facility
TECUMSEH, Ont. -- More than one year into the legalization of cannabis, the Town of Tecumseh is one of several communities still dealing with the rules around businesses setting up shop to grow and sell the product.
Now, an application for the production of medical cannabis has been presented to the town for a new cannabis venture east of the Greenlawn Cemetery along highway 3 in Oldcastle.
But some residents want the town nix the idea.
"Let's have a conversation about cannabis," said one resident Celeste O'Neil after Tuesday’s council meeting.
The conversation actually started way back in April. A company called Epione Remedios, fronted by Mike Colasanti, informed the Town of Tecumseh that it was applying to Health Canada to become a licensed producer of medical marijuana under The Cannabis Act.
"This is not somebody coming in from Vancouver or Toronto or Montreal, this is a homegrown individual," Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara noted.
Some Oldcastle residents are upset it wasn't made public until now.
"Our greatest concern was the secrecy about all this,” said Judy Wellwood-Robson of Friends of Oldcastle Development. “Even today, there are residents who are very close who have no idea that possibly in a couple of days they could wake up and there would be cannabis in their backyard."
They also share concerns over the odour and what it means for future residential growth in the hamlet.
"A lot of red flags went up that just wasn't right," said Wellwood Robson.
"We're not against cannabis facilities,” said O'Neil. “Oldcastle has lots of industrial areas that a facility like that could go into."
But now that recreational cannabis is legal – Mayor McNamara says many municipalities are treating cannabis farming the same as any other legal crop.
"It is agriculture,” he said. “Pure and simple."
But the mayor says residents can rest assured the town is in no rush. McNamara tells CTV News the property requires re-zoning and the applicant still needs a license to grow.
"We've got a ways to go yet before there's any shovel ready to go in the ground," he said.
The town doesn't yet have a bylaw on the books that restricts land-use by commercial cannabis producers. Rather than drafting an interim bylaw, town council referred the discussion to administration to do its research and report back.
"We would never make a decision without input from the public," McNamara said.