Pemberton passes marijuana grow-op bylaw 

Pemberton council has passed a bylaw aimed at weeding out marijuana grow operations and in the process, it has reduced the rights of rental tenants in Pemberton.

The bylaw is similar to one the Chilliwack council pioneered and which has had a huge impact in stopping grow operations in that region.

The Chilliwack bylaw is effective because of changes that were made to the Residency Tenancy Act, or RTA, which allows the landlord to legally inspect the spaces they rent periodically. The bylaw places the onus on landlords to ensure that there are no marijuana grow operations in their places.

The Pemberton bylaw can stop landlords from renting their properties until a grow operation is removed and allows council to enforce penalties up to $10,000.

"Every owner of residential premises or other premises that are subject to a Tenancy Agreement must inspect the premises at least once every three months to ascertain whether this bylaw has been contravened," reads Pemberton’s new bylaw.

If a grow operation is found then the bylaw instructs that the tenant must be removed within 30 days, the premises has to be cleaned and then inspected by a certified hygienist before another tenant is allowed back into the property.

Pemberton’s new "Grow Operation, Nuisance or Offensive Trades, Health and Safety Bylaw No.546, 2005" also allows for the fire chief to inspect the premises for "conditions that may cause fires." But Mayor Elinor Warner said the bylaw was primarily meant to shift the responsibility for grow operations onto the owners of properties and to enforce heavy penalties if the bylaws are broken.

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