Pot shops applications sailed through Kelowna’s council with little discussion Monday afternoon.
Four months after the city’s deadline for site rezoning applications, and six months after recreational marijuana was legalized in Canada, seven applications—for stores on Bernard Avenue, Glenmore Road, Gordon Drive, Rutland Road South, Springfield Road and two on Harvey Avenue—were up on the agenda for discussion.
They are the first crop of applications for legal cannabis retail operations in the city. Now that they’ve been given the green light, the applications will go to public hearings April 9, before final approval by council.
Coun. Charlie Hodge asked staff that since the cannabis store on Rutland Road South will be located next to a cannabis paraphernalia shop, Mary Jane’s Headquarters, if the city has regulations for the shop.
Staff said paraphernalia stores are considered regular retail outlets.
City staff have said they do not expect stores to be open in the city before the end of spring.
The city received 41 applications for retail cannabis stores last fall, dramatically lower than the “hundreds” planning staff originally expected. Of those, 31 were sent to special “vetting” committee the city set up, which included planning staff, RCMP and city bylaw representatives. The vetting process took two months.
In February, the city announced 15 applications would be forwarded to council, including five selected in a lottery.
The lottery winners were picked from applications judged to be of similar merit but proposed for locations close to each other.
The city has set location criteria for stores, including minimum distances from schools, parks and other stores selling cannabis.
City planning staff said the simplest applications would be considered first, with the ones requiring more work to be presented to council at a later date.
The cost of applying for a rezoning for a store selling cannabis was set at $10,495—$1,000 to apply and $9,495 if the application is forwarded for consideration. By comparison, most other rezoning applications in Kelowna cost between $1,000 and $1,800.
In addition to the bill for rezoning, once a store is up and running, the operator will be required to obtain city business licence at an additional cost of $8,000 per year. Retailers must also have a licence from the province to operate a store.
Last month, the city said identified the following sites as possible locations for cannabis retail stores:
• 547-559 Bernard Avenue
• 401 Glenmore Road
• 140-160 Rutland Rd S
• 3818 Gordon Drive
• 2090 Harvey Avenue
• 1455-1475 Harvey Avenue
• 2121 Springfield Road
• 1675-1677 Commerce Avenue
• 2339-2397 Hwy 97 North
• 1977 Kirschner Road
• 1310 St. Paul Street
• 889 Vaughan Avenue
• 175 Old Vernon Road
• 2053, 2065 & 2115 Rutland Court
• 1100 Lawrence Avenue
• 5505-5507 Airport Way