NOTEBOOK: Marijuana dispensary cited for zoning violation

Inside Magna Terra on Iber Road. (supplied photo)

(Photo: Inside Magna Terra on Iber Road. Supplied photo.)

The Ottawa Citizen reports that the Magna Terra marijuana dispensary in Stittsville has received a notice of a zoning violation from the City of Ottawa.

“Two dispensaries have received notices of zoning violations for operating ‘retail stores’ in industrial zones. City inspectors are also investigating the take-out window in a boarded-up pot shop to see if the operation violates the building code, ” writes Jacquie Miller in Saturday’s Citizen.

“…Magna Terra Health Services on Iber Road in Stittsville, has a lawyer negotiating with the city over the matter. Spokesperson Franco Vigile said he employs a nurse and considers his dispensary a “medical facility,” which is allowed under industrial zoning. City bylaw chief Roger Chapman said he could not comment on specific cases, but property owners are usually given a deadline to comply with a zoning infraction notice. If they don’t comply, a charge under the zoning bylaw may be filed with the Provincial Offences Court.”

(Although medical marijuana use is legal in Canada, the drug can only be legally obtained by mail order.)

Magna Terra’s location at 83 Iber is zoned IL[1559] Light Industrial Zone, as is most of the land on that road. Some retail use is permitted in industrial zones, that’s why the art school can sell art supplies, or the craft brewer can sell beer, or the lighting and flooring stores can operate.

The previous tenant at Magna’s Iber Road location was Dragon’s Lair Beads, a make-your-own jewellery shop that operated for about 14 years.

A wide range of businesses are permitted in industrial zones, including medical facilities, which is why Magna Terra owner Vigile believes his shop is in compliance with the zoning bylaw.

“We sell only to clients with valid prescriptions, and provide professional, free medical counselling to help people treat their chronic conditions. Our clients include people with cancer, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and other serious diseases,” he told earlier this month.

“I agree that dispensaries that sell to people for non-medical reasons, to minors, or set up shop across from schools should be closed. Magna Terra does none of these things, and we do our best to operate in a safe and secure manner,” he said.

(I suspect he would also have a good argument that his showroom space is “secondary to the primary use of buildings for warehousing”, another condition that would allow for retail in the industrial zone. The facility includes offices, a waiting room, and offices. The actual display area inside Magna Terra is relatively small.)

Vigile also confirmed earlier this month that he hasn’t been visited yet by police, although he did voluntarily sit down with police prior to the opening to have a dialogue with them.

Exactly how many complaints has the city received about Magna Terra, and what about? And what do the business neighbours think? We have a reporter looking into those questions. Stay tuned.

Magna Terra on Iber Road
Magna Terra on Iber Road


Here’s a list of businesses permitted in industrial zones in Ottawa. (Some are subject to conditions/limitations.)

amusement centre
amusement park
animal care establishment
animal hospital
automobile dealership
automobile rental establishment
automobile service station
bank machine
broadcasting studio
car wash
catering establishment
convenience store
day care
drive-through facility
emergency service
gas bar
heavy equipment and vehicle sales, rental and servicing
instructional facility
light industrial uses
medical facility
municipal service centre
parking garage
parking lot
personal service business
place of assembly
post office
printing plant
production studio
recreational and athletic facility
research and development centre
service and repair shop
small batch brewery
technology industry
training centre
truck transport terminal



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