Kelowna planning manager considers cannabis clinics risky business

Kelowna planning manager considers cannabis clinics risky business

Businesses may not be able to rezone once pot is legalized

Kelowna’s community manager is calling a new cannabis clinic’s operation “risky” as plans to rezone into a recreational dispensary once pot is legalized may not be possible.

A Compass Cannabis Clinic opened at the Turtle Bay Plaza in Lake Country last month and last week in Kelowna at 2090 Harvey Ave.

The medical access centres are not currently dispensaries, said marketing director Krista Lusted. They connect patients with doctors to get prescriptions, then patients with cannabis producers to get access to cannabis products. The marijuana is then mailed to a patient’s homes.

Doctors are available on-site and through Skype interviews to prescribe medical marijuana.

Related: Pot shops closing; Kelowna moves forward under new rules

When recreational marijuana is legalized, which the federal government is aiming to do by August, clinics will change into dispensaries if the business licencing in the city allows, said Lusted.

“If we’re not able to get a licence to operate, then it would stay a medicinal clinic,” she said.

Kelowna community planning manager Ryan Smith, says it’s risky for the cannabis business to operate this way as there is no guarantee it will pass zoning law requirements to become a recreational dispensary once federal laws are changed.

“Their location might be too close to parks or schools,” said Smith.

Medical production of marijuana is currently permitted in Lake Country and Kelowna industrial zones, but not the sale of it.

“My understanding is that this is being adhered to and respected,” said Jaime McEwan, District of Lake Country community development manager.

Compass Cannabis Clinic is the only cannabis shop in Lake Country. The district will be considering zoning bylaw changes in spring and into the summer, “which may change how the district permits and regulates cannabis production and sale. Any changes the district makes will really only be effectual once and if the federal government legalizes the product(s) and the Province of B.C. finalizes its regulations,” said McEwan.

On the City of Kelowna’s website, it says a webpage will be available to the public next week outlining current regulations and a draft of the new regulations.

The city currently has draft regulations it will present to business associations and the Chamber of Commerce, before reporting to council with recommendations.

Compass Cannabis Clinics have 39 locations in B.C., according to a clinic news release.

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carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

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