Local politicians in Williams Lake, B.C., want the Interior city to become a hub for marijuana production in anticipation of cannabis legalization this summer.

Council voted unanimously last week to encourage regulated marijuana production in the hope of creating new jobs.

"Williams Lake has an abundance of key industrial land that would be perfect for growing cannabis in a legalized manner," said city councillor Scott Nelson.

"We might as well take part in it and see if we can reap some benefits for our community and our region, and see if we can become the cannabis capital here in British Columbia."

Williams Lake is known for lumber, mining and agriculture, but Nelson said adding cannabis could improve the job market.

"The huge spinoff in terms of scientific research, microbiology, adding courses to our university, it just has an abundance of creating a much better and diverse economy in Williams Lake," he said.

Nelson expects that if several business set up shop in the Cariboo city of 11,000, hundreds of new positions could open up.

Positive feedback

Since the motion was passed, Nelson said he's heard nothing but positive feedback from residents. 

After hearing CBC's interview with Nelson on Daybreak Kamloops, Shane Doddridge, who lives in Springhouse, 26 km south of Williams Lake, called to express his excitement about the motion.

"I think it's an awesome idea to diversify the economy here," Doddridge said. "This may be a good opportunity for growth and bring in some more young people.

"We're a relatively stagnant economy, extractive industries aren't expanding and we need to look more toward value-added products and manufacturing of we want to thrive into the future," he said. 

Four investors will be in Williams Lake this week to check out the city's agricultural potential for a cannabis business. Nelson said while the entire area has great potential for cannabis production, he has one site in mind that already had a 100,000 square foot facility on the property.

With files from Daybreak Kamloops


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