Town council is expected to finalize a cannabis bylaw next week.
With the impending new bylaw, cannabis growers in Niagara-on-the-Lake will face new restrictions.
The proposed bylaw would affect all rural lands throughout NOTL, with the aim of introducing increased setback requirements between cannabis cultivation, production and processing facilities, and sensitive land uses.
With the bylaw, new greenhouse operators will be required to be a minimum of 300 metres from urban areas, buildings and other sensitive land uses.
There was some debate at council's committee of the whole Monday night about the distance — whether it should be 150, 300 or 500 metres.
Lord Mayor Betty Disero said the 300-metre setback is a “defendable” decision, while limiting the amount of area that would be impacted by cannabis grow operations.
The main concern people have with the operations, she said, is odour and light — and the NOTL brand, “in terms of being quaint and pretty.”
“The 300-metre setback will will give us a really strong buffer area that's defendable,” she said.
Coun. Wendy Cheropita asked council to amend the bylaw to be 490 metres, but was defeated.
Disero said at 500 metres, if it was ever challenged it would be “thrown out of court.”
She said it would be nice, but pointed out town planning staff said it would frustrate federal regulation.
“I defend the position of the town if it's if it's defendable, but for something that's not defensible, why would I go to the expense and stress and fight if our own planning stuff says you cannot frustrate the federal regulation? I think the 300 metres is good, defensible and it limits the amount of area that would be impacted,” Disero said.