Pitch for pot warehouse ‘premature,’ councillor says

Nitin Mehra says it’s high time for City Hall to chill out and embrace legal marijuana operations...

Nitin Mehra says it’s high time for City Hall to chill out and embrace legal marijuana operations as he tries to establish a distribution facility in Ottawa. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Jon Willing, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:19 PM ET

OTTAWA - Nitin Mehra says it’s high time for City Hall to chill out and embrace legal marijuana operations as he tries to establish a distribution facility in Ottawa.

“It’s still a politics game,” Mehra said. “It’s really up to the city councillors who hold the key on this.”

The 29-year-old local restaurateur is looking for a piece of the medical marijuana market and wants to set up the city’s first warehouse operating as Ottawa Alternative Health.

He is applying to Health Canada for a licence.

Mehra does not want to grow pot. He just wants to store and sell it to people with prescriptions from their doctors.

His supplier would be medicinal marijuana grower Tweed, which took over the old Hershey plant in Smiths Falls, Ont., and is awaiting its own federal licence to produce.

Mehra has thought of all the security risks associated with such a business. Workers would have background checks. Concrete walls would be reinforced with steel. Cameras would cover the entire perimeter.

He has already sent notices to the police department, fire service, Mayor Jim Watson and councillors.

“I want to be as totally transparent about this application as possible,” Mehra said.

But Mehra said at one point, city staff expressed fear of “machine guns fights” because of the facility.

Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Diane Deans, who represents the area, says it’s “premature at best” because council must first adopt a policy on locating marijuana facilities.

The planning department has been working on a zoning bylaw amendment in response to new federal rules for the commercial production of medical marijuana.

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