The Town of Pelham issued a Part III charge under the Provincial Offences Act to Woodstock Biomed Inc. (Leviathan Cannabis Group Inc.) at 770 Foss Road for allegedly violating the Town’s Cannabis Interim Control Bylaw (ICB).
The charge is the result of what is alleged to be a large scale cannabis growing operation at that address. While the ICB is in effect, the use of any land, building or structure for any agricultural, commercial or industrial cannabis purpose whatsoever, except for uses that lawfully existed on the date of the passage of the bylaw, is prohibited.
“The charge falls in line with the standards and expectations of the Town and the community which were made clear in the Cannabis Interim Control Bylaw,” said fire chief and director of bylaw services Bob Lymburner. “The ICB contained a simple prohibition and the Town is fulfilling its responsibility to residents by enforcing the bylaw.”
A first appearance court date has been set for November 27, 2020, at 9 a.m. at the Welland Provincial Courthouse.
During the investigation, lawyers for Leviathan Cannabis Group Inc. threatened town staff with trespassing charges, in what was a presumed attempt to avoid prosecution.
First passed on October 15, 2018, the ICB was extended in September 2019. Town Council and the Cannabis Control Committee used the time created by the ICB to review the challenges posed by the Cannabis industry and ultimately drafted and passed Pelham’s Odorous Industries Nuisance bylaw and amendments to the Zoning Bylaw and the Town’s Official Plan.
The amendment to the Official Plan Bylaw adds policies for studies required to support the establishment of indoor cannabis and industrial hemp cultivation facilities, ensuring all potential adverse effects are studied in advance. The results of these studies establish minimum setbacks from sensitive land uses in the required site-specific zoning bylaw amendment, and may establish a maximum size for the facility.
The Zoning Bylaw amendment establishes provisions applying to cannabis-related uses and industrial hemp-related uses in the Town of Pelham. The amendment establishes two new zones: Agricultural-Cannabis and General Industrial-Cannabis with site-specific provisions for lot frontage, area, setbacks and lot coverage.
Leviathan Cannabis Group Inc. has launched two separate legal challenges against the Town, firstly in the Superior Court of Justice to have the company’s operations exempt from the ICB and secondly before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal to challenge the Town’s recent Zoning Bylaw and Official Plan amendments. There are currently no set dates for the aforementioned legal proceedings.