City decides to wait and see on smelly pot plant issue

Cannabis plant. (Photo courtesy of Statistics Canada)

With a bylaw in Leamington before the courts, Windsor City Councillors have decided they will not act on complaints about the odour of pot plants, at least not yet.

The problem is not so much those who have up to four cannabis plants for their own use but those who have a licensed to grow many more for medical use. A report to councillors said there have been ten complaints to 311, all about the same home.

Leamington has a bylaw on the books restricting where people can grow large numbers of plants to industrial areas. However, the bylaw is before the Superior Court of Justice, which will decide if it violates the federal law legalizing cannabis.

Health Canada is also expected to wrap up public consultations this week.

Ward 8 councillor Gary Kaschak asked the administration why bylaw enforcement can investigate complaints about garbage in yards and smells associated with that, but not the odour from cannabis cultivation.

“I can understand that it is frustrating for residents,” said City Clerk Valerie Critchley. “The challenge is that the source of these odours is something that is legal.”

Kaschak acknowledged that it is a quality of life issue for living with a skunky smell in the neighbourhood but urged their patience.

“This is one of those things that I think will get corrected, but we’re still in the interim stages here, and we’re not quite there yet,” he said.

Councillors ultimately decided to defer the report until after the courts rule on Leamington’s bylaw.