Those wanting to set up retail cannabis business in Osoyoos will have to pay five times the fee a business that sells alcohol does.
Even that pricey charge is still one of the lowest business licence fees for retail cannabis in the Okanagan.
Having already had three readings, Osoyoos council voted on Monday to pass the bylaw with no one from the public or the council table speaking further on the matter. Council did receive a letter from a concerned citizen regarding the $500 cost to obtain the licence, in comparison to the $100 fee for establishments selling alcohol in the town.
“It is disturbing that this proposed bylaw reveals an attitude about the sale of cannabis, one that is tacit and discriminates against those who would seek a business licence, and those who would purchase or use cannabis for health of psychological purposes or recreational purposes,” said Osoyoos resident Trevor Gambell, in a letter to Osoyoos council.
The City of Penticton set their fees at $2,500 to apply to the city and a $5,000 yearly licence fee. Other businesses in Penticton, including liquor stores, only pay $175 a year for their business licence. Vernon has set a $5,000 application and $2,000 fee for the licence. Summerland decided on a $1,500 application fee and a $400 fee for the licence. Lake County settled on a $550 licence fee.
A business licence in Osoyoos can only be issued if site-specific zoning is in place for the proposed business location. Community input on the location of retail cannabis stories is being sought through the rezoning process. The amendment to the business licence bylaw will be prepared by the planning and development services department later this year. Until that happens, a licence for a retail cannabis store cannot be issued.
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