The Canadian arm of a U.S. private equity firm is eyeing a Duke Point-area property as the site of a new, medical marijuana production facility.
Lafitte Ventures Ltd. has put forward a rezoning application for 1100 Maughan Rd., a 1.8-acre site with a vacant warehousetype building, to switch the land's light designated industrial (I2) zoning to Industrial (I4). The change would allow medical marijuana growing and production on site. The parcel is surrounded by other properties that are also zoned I4.
Lafitte Ventures is a Canadian company set up by Privateer Holdings, a U.S. firm with a focus on making investments in the legal cannabis market. Lafitte CEO Brendan Kennedy, who is also listed as CEO of Privateer Holdings, said the company has been searching for a suitable sight across Canada for months before finding the Duke Point site. The owner of the property, More or Les Ventures Ltd., has accepted an offer on the land, Kennedy said.
He called the site and building "ideal" for a Health Canadaapproved facility. The marijuana would be grown, packaged and processed at the site.
"This just seemed like a gem of a property, and we really liked the City of Nanaimo and the people we met there and it seemed like a good investment for us," Kennedy said.
A city staff report on the rezoning application comes forward to council on Monday. The application has the backing of the Nanaimo advisory planning committee, but city manager Ted Swabey is recommending council delay action on the application for now due to two concerns. The first is that the rezoning for the proposed use would set a precedent in favour of future rezoning applications for other I2 lands in the area. The second, "more serious risk" is the potential erosion of the industrial tax base if medical marijuana is considered an agricultural use and assessed for taxes differently.
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