Applicants had no right to participate in medical marijuana licensing process

Federal court | Administrative Law


Applicants had no right to participate in medical marijuana licensing process

Respondent company applied for license to produce medical marijuana at certain property owned by respondent numbered company. Respondent federal health authority granted preliminary approval, subject to inspection to ensure production facility met all applicable regulatory standards. Meanwhile, municipality in which property located passed bylaw prohibiting production of medical marijuana on all properties within its jurisdiction. Respondent, therefore, applied to municipality to rezone property to permit construction and operation of licensed medical marijuana production facility on property. Municipality gave notice of rezoning application to owners and/or occupiers of adjacent properties, including applicants. Applicants wrote to municipality voicing strong opposition. Municipality’s planning department prepared report acknowledging concerns but referencing existing regulatory requirements meant to address such health, safety and security concerns, and recommended application receive first and second reading and be referred to public hearing. Following public hearing, at which applicants given opportunity to voice concerns, municipality decided to proceed with rezoning subject to restrictive covenants meant to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and environmental remediation of site. Applicants wrote to federal health authority to express concerns and request standing to be heard in licensing application. After receiving no response to repeated requests, applicants applied for declaration they were, as matter of natural justice and procedural fairness, entitled to be heard and for order of mandamus compelling authority to allow them to participate in licensing process. Application dismissed. Applicants had no statutory or common law right to participate in medical marijuana licensing process. While Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations required notice of applications to local authorities, they did not require notice to owners or occupiers of adjacent properties. While regulations required authority to refuse any license that would create risk to public health, safety or security, they contemplated local authorities, not third parties such as applicants, would raise such concerns. Applicants concerns were, essentially, related to land use or planning issues, and what municipality had or had not been entitled to do in rezoning process. Their only remedy was to participate in that, not marijuana production licensing process.
P & S Holdings Ltd. v. Canada (Dec. 1, 2015, F.C., Anne L. Mactavish J., File No. T-2184-14) 261 A.C.W.S. (3d) 252.

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