EVE-LYNN SWAN The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Simon Nasr is a true believer in the benefits of medical cannabis, after seeing how the product helped his brother-in-law cope with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Now he wants to bring the “real science and testing of cannabis” currently being done in Israel, to Uxbridge; however, local by-laws are too restrictive, and he visited Uxbridge Council on May 27th, to test their openness to change.
Telling Council his company, Northern Spirits Biosciences Group, wants to grow their own cannabis, in order to provide its researchers with standardized product for research and development purposes, Mr. Nasr said, By-Law 2016-63’s restriction of marijuana farms to 100 acres, makes turning his ten-acre 5560 Highway 47 property into a Canadian hub for cannabis innovation impossible.
During his presentation, Mr. Nasr showed Council a satellite view of the property and explained he has come to an agreement with abutting land-owner Wayne Buckingham on driveway access. Pointing out a 3,000 square foot facility, which is currently used for growing personal-use cannabis, Simon Nasr said, Northern Spirits plans to add a 20,000 square foot building in Phase 2.
Responding to Councillor Beach’s statements, regarding existing complaints from neighbours about odours, Simon pointed to the map and said the barn is 250 feet away from other buildings and “R & D will work with powders and distillates”.
Councillor Ruona wondered at the timing of Northern Biosciences entry into the cannabis market: “Aren’t you late to the party?” he asked. Mr. Nasr replied, his company was not interested in supplying plants to consumers, instead it is seeking a micro-licence for 1,000 square feet, allowing them to test product strengths.
Mr. Nasr, who explained he’d already been in contact with Township staff on the issue, emphasized his experience with highly-regulated environments, his brother-in-law’s law enforcement experience, and assured Council of the firm’s focus on creating reliable, consistent product strains for the manufacture of beverages and edibles.
Township Planning Consultant, Elizabeth Howson, advised Mr. Nasr to bring forward a zoning by-law application for his site, instead of asking for a review of the township-wide by-law.
Mayor Barton stated, he was “pro-business”, and then expressed concerns about criminal activity, odours, and traffic associated with other Uxbridge cannabis growing sites. He advised Mr. Nasr saying, “be aware of those and decide if you want to move forward, or not”.
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