Two more government cannabis store applications are headed to Kamloops city council next week.
The province is looking to open BC Cannabis Stores in Lansdowne Village downtown and in Northills Centre in North Kamloops, following the opening last month of B.C.’s first legal cannabis store in the Columbia Place Shopping Centre in Sahali.
Signs have long been posted on the buildings, seeking public feedback. The applications will go before the new city council on Nov. 20.
BC Liquor Distribution Branch communications manager Viviana Zanocco said the locations were identified when the province sought its first location in Kamloops.
“We thought, well, eventually, we’re going to need a couple of more in Kamloops,” Zanocco said. “Just as we have several liquor stores in Kamloops, so why don’t we look for other locations?”
Other communities have been waiting for their first shop. Zanocco said the city’s zoning make it clear where cannabis shops are permitted and noted the complexities of securing locations, negotiating with landlords and public consultations.
Meanwhile, people are still lining up outside the province’s first store, which opened in next to Save-On-Foods in Sahali on legalization day, Oct. 17.
This past Tuesday marked four weeks of sales and numbers suggest it’s been busy — 17,451 in-store transactions and 33,826 online sales. Asked if that is more or less than what was anticipated, Zanocco said: “We didn’t know what to expect.”
In addition to provincial pot shop applications headed to council chambers, city business licence inspector Dave Jones said two private applications are in the queue and he expects six private applications to come before city council by the end of the year.
While there appears to be steady interest in retail cannabis shops in Kamloops, Jones said the city has received interest in cannabis business ventures that go beyond stores.
He said the city has received inquiries about locations for production facilities, micro-grow operations and food-production facilities for edibles, which are due to become legal next year.
“We’ve had some bigger companies come in and look at locations, working with BC Hydro to upgrade power,” Jones said.
Minor bylaw changes will be required in order to allow non-medicinal growing. Bylaws currently allow medicinal growers in industrial areas of the city following federal legislation in recent years that required cities to allow medicinal cannabis to be grown somewhere. Industrial areas were chosen in order to have the least impact on residents, due to the smell.
Jones also said illegal cannabis stores continue to shut down in Kamloops, with the overall total down to three from 13. He said they have been asked to close and those that continue to operate will likely be visited by the provincial task force enforcing illegal shops.
“It’ll be interesting to see how much longer the three will be open,” he said.