Read the full story in the Sept. 7 edition of The Interior News.
New federal marijuana regulations and soon-to-be updated regional district bylaws offer no support to a South Hazelton resident complaining about a “stinky grow-op” next door.
“One time I opened my door and the smell was so bad I wanted to throw up,” said the resident, who asked not to be named.
She has complained to police and to Health Canada but since the grow-op belongs to a licenced medical marijuana producer, she has been told there is nothing to be done.
Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen said he has been notified about a personal use grow-op in the South Hazelton area that contains 180 plants.
“I don’t know if it is the same case, but that seems like a lot,” said Cullen.
“And there has got to be some rules in place. We have broadly been in favour of allowing personal use when marijuana gets legalized … but [having] mass grow-ops and then calling them personal use, obviously we need some sort of guidelines to prevent organized crime from operating in a different way or people abusing the system and having a black market operation. It sounds like we’re going to be waiting until Trudeau comes out with some rules and in the meantime it’s a bit of a wild west out there. And I know the RCMP and the mayors have been getting increasingly anxious with so few guidelines.”
The resident and several of her neighbours have called and written letters to Health Canada, and they were told that because this is a legal grow-op, there is nothing to be done.
“This is a Health Canada issue,” said New Hazelton RCMP Sgt. Antonio Hernandez.
The resident said the “skunky” smell permeates the neighbourhood for about two days out of every 10, and if she has even one window open, her “whole house reeks of it,” and raises difficult emotions for one of her foster children.
“It is pretty bad when you have a five year-old say, ‘That’s the smell I smell before my daddy beats my mommy,’ ” she said.
Calls to Health Canada have not yet been returned.
But the local government authority for South Hazelton, the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine, has no answers either, even though complaints like this are not new, and there have been complaints from other parts of the regional district.
“As of right now it is under Health Canada’s jurisdiction,” said RDKS planner Nick Redpath.