After sitting dormant for seven years the former PPG plant in Owen Sound is being transformed for a proposed medical marijuana production facility.

“Dry marijuana, as well as once we are allowed extracts, capsules, ointments, so we will be producing everything under one roof,” said Mark Krytiuk with Canadian Bioceutical Corporation.

The company is spending $14 million to retrofit the existing warehouse space, but before it can go into production the company must be licenced by Health Canada and must comply with local zoning by-laws.

Earlier this year the City of Owen Sound passed a zoning by-law requiring medical marijuana production facilities to be located in industrial areas well away from schools, day cares and places of worship, but the bylaw is being challenged by local resident who appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

The OMB held a one day hearing Wednesday and heard from resident Dustin McGregor, who launched an appeal against the zoning bylaw to allow the facility to be built. McGregor argued the city’s bylaw does not provide an exemption for personal marijuana production.  

McGregor said a case before the federal court in British Columbia might decide current medical marijuana production regulations are unconstitutional and that would give patients who use marijuana the right to grow their own.

“I would like the city to commit to revisit of the bylaw if there is a change to the MMPR and commit to doing that, otherwise I don't believe they will,” he said.  

The city's lawyer Harold Elston argued the by-law complies with current federal regulations and is based on sound land use planning.

The company is confident the OMB will give the zoning by-law its approval and says construction has been carrying on at the site despite legal delays. 

“In the interim we are continuing with construction with 300 jobs with trades people to get the site to where it needs to be so we can become a licensed producer,” said Krytiuk.

Canadian Bioceutical Corporation is still awaiting approval from Health Canada.