Kelowna city hall wants ‘exclusion sites’ for pot shops

City staff say keep retail stores off Bernard Avenue and South Pandosy Street

The City of Kelowna wants to keep pot shops off the main streets of two of its major commercial centres.

In a report going to city council Monday, planning department staff are recommending exclusion zones for marijuana retail operations once cannabis is legalized in Canada this summer. The proposed no-go areas would include Bernard Avenue downtown and South Pandosy Street.

City staff are also recommending minimum distances between cannabis retailers, as well as between stores and public facilities like schools, major parks and community centres.

They also want to see setbacks from liquor sales locations and say they will further evaluate retailing directly from agricultural land.

“The province will permit local governments to decide whether they wish to have a non-medical cannabis retail store in their community,” writes city planner Ryan Smith in the report to council. “The province will not be regulating the location of cannabis retail stores”

RELATED: Kelowna, West Kelowna asking for one-third of pot revenues

He adds local government jurisdiction over land use management is recognized, including jurisdiction to set requirements for the proximity of cannabis retail outlets to each other, as well as schools, day cares or other land uses.

“For the province to issue a license, applicants must have the support of the local government in the community where the proposed store would be located.”

The federal government’s Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) is scheduled to be voted on by the Senate June 7. If passed, royal assent would follow almost immediately and the act would come into force legalizing cannabis across the the country.

The federal government anticipates provincial and territorial governments would need an additional eight to 12 weeks following royal assent to prepare for retail sales, writes Smith.

Meanwhile, in preparation for the legalization, the province has made a number of decisions about what the regulatory framework in B.C., including making the minimum age to possess, purchase and consume cannabis 19, allowing it to be sold through retail stores or government-operated retail stores and online sales.

The B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch will operate the public retail stores, and Liquor Control and Licensing Branch will be responsible for licensing private stores and monitoring the retail sector.

The operating rules governing public and private retail stores will be similar to those currently in place for liquor.

In urban areas, licensed retailers will not be able to sell cannabis in the same stores as liquor or tobacco. The LDB will be the wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis in B.C.

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