Cannabis shops in Kelowna inching closer to reality

Not all was lost in the cannabis lottery

Pot shop proposals that lost out in the Kelowna lottery allowing them to open in the city may still have a chance.

According to city planning staff, eight of the 13 proposals that went to a lottery to determine which could proceed are eligible to apply for zoning bylaw text amendments. Those amendments could, if city council agrees, allow them to open closer to other stores, schools and parks than the current rules stipulate.

“It is anticipated that council will be presented with the first proposed rezoning bylaws for consideration of retail cannabis sales establishments in later this month,” said city planner Kim Brunet in a report going to council Monday.

“Rezoning applications that were not selected to move forward at this time are eligible to submit an application for a zoning bylaw text amendment.”

READ MORE: First private pot shop applications wending way through Kelowna city hall

In her report, Brunet said city staff will report back to council at a later date about a proposed process for how to handle the applications that were not selected to move forward at this time.

Community planning manager Ryan Smith said text amendment applications will be handled after the 15 proposals currently moving through city hall are dealt with.

He said he is aware some of the people behind applications that were not chosen in the lottery are upset. But he said, he believes the process was handled fairly. That, he added, is born out by a report from consultant Grant Thornton, which oversaw the entire process dealing with pot shop applications in Kelowna.

READ MORE: Kelowna expecting hundreds of pot shop applications

In October, following legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada by the federal government, the city received 41 applications to open retail stores. A seven-member committee set up by the city vetted the proposals and whittled them down to 35. Of those, 10 were accepted to move on to the rezoning stage and 13 went to the lottery because their proposed sites were to close together.

To be approved, an applicant must also be aproved by the province.

Smith said he expects in the end, the city will have 12 to 14 stores selling recreational cannabis.

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