The provincial government should make parts of Metro Vancouver’s agricultural land reserve (ALR) available for the soon-to-be-legalized cultivation of recreational cannabis, says Colliers International.

Using greenhouses on portions of the least-arable ALR land would provide a viable alternative to Metro Vancouver’s scant industrial land for cannabis production, the property brokerage said in a recent white paper.

Doing so would allow for a viable recreational cannabis production industry here without further squeezing the already-tight industrial market, Colliers said.

Greenhouse cultivation on ALR land would be cheaper than producing recreational pot in industrial spaces, it said, adding that it would also boost the flexibility and profitability of Metro farmland.

The provincial government, through the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), currently permits the cultivation of medicinal marijuana on ALR land.

Recreational cannabis production should also be allowed on ALR land, otherwise those producers would have to compete for facilities in Metro Vancouver’s already constrained industrial zones, forcing up prices and choking business opportunities for all industrial users, the report said.

“We’re not particularly pro-cannabis or anti-cannabis,” said Andrew Rojek, Colliers’ market intelligence manager for Western Canada. “It’s up to the province to decide whether the recreational cannabis industry is something that we want to be participating in.”

He said the Metro Vancouver industrial vacancy rate is at 1.5 per cent. Bringing in an entirely new industry would only make matters more difficult for local businesses.

“It would be really difficult for these (potential recreational cannabis producers) to find space and compete for space,” he said.

Recent analysis by Deloitte projects that the retail sale of recreational cannabis in Canada could range from $4.9 billion to $8.7 billion in the first year.

“If the province wants to attract these big producers to B.C. then we need to be offering them a place to go and some flexibility around how they can grow here,” Rojek said. …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun – Business


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