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City will sell Skytek land for plant

The sale of city-owned land for a medical marijuana facility in south-Barrie has been pushed back to Jan. 31, 2018.

Councillors gave initial approval to the closing date extension Monday, with no discussion.

Skytek Pharmaceutical wants to buy 36-48 Rawson Dr. to build a $7-million, 65,000 square foot plant to employ 120 people, with a potential for 330 more jobs.

The company would pay $647,250 for nearly 5.2 acres of land.

This deal initially came to Barrie councillors in June, 2015, with a tentative closing date that August.

But after council approved the sale, the federal government announced changes to the laws regulating the licensing of medical marijuana growing facilities.

So licence applications were put on hold.

Skytek has applied for licensing with Health Canada and is in the process, confident it will get done this year.

Skytek would grow and process medical marijuana. Orders would be filled by mail and couriered throughout Canada for patients with prescriptions. All shipments would be done indoors. There would be no retail sales permitted.

The facility would use state-of-the-art filters to eliminate odours and recycle water used for irrigation, so there would not be any discharge into the city's sewer system from the marijuana production.

There would be electronic security access, a fenced facility and an electrical entry gate.

Development charges for the facility would be $1.3 million.

In 2015, city council approved an expansion of permitted uses within the industrial section of Barrie's comprehensive zoning bylaw which included medical marijuana production facilities.

Licenced producers must comply with municipal zoning bylaws and notify local authorities of their intentions, including site location. These producers can be licensed to grow, process, sell , ship, deliver, transport, destroy, export or import marijuana for medical purposes.

The medical benefits of marijuana remain controversial, although the relief of chronic pain is most often cited.

Health Canada says dried marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine in this country. The Canadian government doesn't endorse the use of marijuana, but the courts have required reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana when authorized by a physician.


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