Traditionally, cannabis grow operations have been subject to one regulation — stay hidden from the police. But as the industry now legally produces a high-demand product on an industrial scale, producers must now follow a web of environmental laws and regulations from three levels of government.
Richard Butler, partner at Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP in Toronto, has clients operating greenhouses, orchards and other food production facilities who are converting their operations to get into the cannabis business.
“Nobody really understands, I think, the complete impact that this new industry, now in Ontario and Canada, is going to have,” he says. “Cannabis is another commodity that fits in that model but with yet unknown potential environmental impacts.”