Seed to Soul on Hudson Avenue is one of four cannabis retail stores in Salmon Arm that will be closed until they receive their licences to operate. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Shuswap pot shops close as cannabis becomes legal

One marijuana dispensary won’t require city approvals as on First Nations land

Business was brisk at Eden and Starbuds on Tuesday morning.

The marijuana dispensaries located on Lakeshore Drive NW in Salmon Arm were closing at the end of business hours on Oct. 16, as required by the province.

Starbuds manager Chris MacMillan says their application to sell marijuana is not 100 per cent complete as they are waiting for documents to arrive in the mail.

“We’re hoping to get it done as soon as possible and it’s hard to say how long we’ll be waiting,” he says, noting business was busy on Monday and Tuesday. “We will remain closed until we get our licence, which is a real shame because we have a large clientele.”

He says many of his customers do not buy products to get high, but more for medical purposes.

“Our plan is to re-open and we hope they look at us and say ‘you have followed the guidelines,’” says MacMillan, noting the cost to obtain a licence is about $10,000, and Starbuds’ application process is a bit different as the store is located on First Nations land.

Related: Starbuds sets up medicinal dispensary in Salmon Arm

“As far as I know, we’re not obliged to be under the city’s bylaws,” he says, something Kevin Pearson, the city’s director of development services, confirms.

MacMillan says he and staff considered remaining open, until the local RCMP advised them they could be charged with trafficking and the province would also deny them a licence as they would be operating illegally.

There was no answer at GreenLeaf, one of three other marijuana dispensaries in town, but MacMillan says they closed their doors, “at least temporarily,” on Oct. 1.

Seed to Soul on Hudson Avenue was already closed Tuesday and had a sign on the door stating it would remain as such until further notice.

Clayton Beadle, regional manager at Eden, says Eden would be open for informational purposes only, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 17 to 19 and on Oct. 22 and 23 next week.

When local cannabis retailers do open, their products will be restricted.

“It looks like edibles, topicals and concentrates will not be available until further regulations are provided by Health Canada,” says Beadle.

Eden supervisor Dawn Grey says local Eden staff are waiting to hear from the city and obtain their licence.

“We’re in the hurry up and wait phase,” she says.

And it’s likely they will be waiting a while longer.

Pearson says his department is currently processing three applications referred to them by the Provincial Liquor Cannabis Licensing Branch.

Related: Salmon Arm council adopts retail cannabis policy

“That’s where they start their applications; it’s almost like liquor licences and that’s how we’re handling it,” says Pearson, noting he spent the better part of last year developing a cannabis bylaw at Salmon Arm council’s request.

The bylaw spells out that any business that wishes to sell cannabis must adhere to federal and provincial laws and regulations, adhere to the city’s bylaws and regulations, and obtain city business licensing approval.

“It explains where these stores are supported and where they are not, what commercial zoning is required, and the procedures involved in processing these application within city hall,” Pearson says, pointing out all applications for a retail cannabis store are referred to council for approval. “It is a flexible policy. Council can support a store in an area where the policy does not support it, and council can also decide to not support a store where the policy supports it.”

Related: CSRD adopts cannabis policy

Like every other rezoning and development application, applications for a cannabis retail store go to the end of the queue and Pearson anticipates a six-week minimum time period for an application to get in front of council.

In terms of enforcement, Pearson says he understands the province is in the process of creating an enforcement unit.

The city’s bylaw officer might be involved as anyone operating illegally could be seen as being in breach of business licensing.

“That can lead to enforcement measures by the city; however, we would probably defer to the RCMP and the Provincial Enforcement Unit because, at the end of the day, these are provincial and federal regulations,” he adds.

Pearson says the city’s bylaw was derived with a great deal of public input.

“The public response to the policy and legalization was that over 80 per cent who responded to our survey were in favour of having the retail outlets,” he says. “One thing I can say, too, is the ones that have been open, we have not received any formal complaints.”


@SalmonArm
barb.brouwer@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Rockets’ winning streak goes cold with loss to Ice

Kelowna lost 3-1 to the Winnipeg Ice Wednesday, conclude road-trip this weekend

Kelowna Owls juniors hold onto No. 1 ranking in province

The junior girls basketball team finished 1st place at the Victoria Christmas Tournament

Defining the difference: Supportive housing and emergency shelters in Kelowna

The Journey Home Strategy calls for both types of housing to help people experiencing homelessness

Okanagan Water Board opens floodgates with call for grant applications

Water Conservation and Quality Improvement program open from Armstrong to Osoyoos

Boil water notice issued for west side area of Okanagan Lake

The notice impacts Westshore Estates water system users

Andrew Scheer to resign as Conservative leader

Decision comes after weeks of Conservative infighting following the October election

More rowers come forward with complaints about coach, criticism of UVic

Barney Williams is accused of verbal abuse and harassment

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

Vandalism closes public washrooms in Penticton’s Okanagan Lake Park indefinitely

A post by the city’s Facebook said the damage is ‘quite extensive’

RCMP uncover meth in arrest of Sicamous woman linked to alleged pellet gun shooting

Police say methamphetamine and other drugs found in car driven by suspect

Disturbing find: Shuswap family seeking Christmas tree locates several animal carcasses

Black bear, a coyote and five deer found dumped in gravel pit west of Salmon Arm

Pawsative Pups: Help your dog love their crate

Lisa Davies is a new columnist for Black Press who writes about dog training

Spark Joy: The art of giving and receiving

Barb and Wendy at Simply Spark Joy help you to create a clutter free home on the Black Press Media

Most Read