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Funded through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance

Cannabis production has expanded significantly across southern Ontario with the legalisation of the industry. Much of this expansion has occurred within the rural countryside, through the utilisation of existing greenhouse infrastructure. While the growth of this sector provides economic benefits to rural communities, complaints from adjacent residents related to lighting and odour issues are common and mitigation of such issues is complex. Land use planning policies have been established across southern Ontario to manage the development of cannabis greenhouses; however, policies vary by region or county and the appropriateness/impact of these policies have not been tested. This study will analyse land use planning policies within Ontario and other jurisdictions related to cannabis production. The outcome of the study will be best practices for land use planning tools that limit nuisance impacts on adjacent land uses, support the continued growth of the cannabis sector and improve the consistency of municipal decision making.

Image by Richard T


July, 2021

This database contains an overview of zoning by-law policies by municipality (or county/region, if appropriate) related to cannabis production. Please note that revisions to policies may not be reflected in this database. For any updates or corrections, please send an email to

Access database here.

Legal Research and Writing


May 2021

University of Guelph

Cassondra Dillman, MSc Rural Planning and Development Candidate

Jordan Scholten, MSc Rural Planning and Development Candidate

Samantha Yeung, MSc Rural Planning and Development Candidate 

University of Waterloo

Mathew Vaughan, PhD student, Planning 

Image by AbsolutVision

May 26, 2021

Authors: Mathew Vaughan, Jeremy Pittman, Sara Epp and Wayne Caldwell

Abstract: Cannabis production standards are evolving with little understanding of their implications on land use planning. Health Canada currently administers a federally-regulated licensing system that does not address odour and light pollution land use impacts across the rural landscape. This literature review addresses the regulatory history of cannabis production in Canada, reviews current production standards, and compares possible cannabis production conflicts with documented land use conflicts from other odourous and light intensive operations to reveal flaws in the existing licensing system. Established cannabis production markets will be examined for further comparisons.

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