- Carli Berry/Capital News                                Dave Martyn, founder of Compass Cannibas Clinic, got his wish to open a cannabis store in Lake Country.

- Carli Berry/Capital News Dave Martyn, founder of Compass Cannibas Clinic, got his wish to open a cannabis store in Lake Country.

Year in review No. 4: Okanagan entrepreneurs enter the pot shop race

Lake Country may be the first municipality to open a store in the Central Okanagan

Canada legalized recreational cannabis Oct. 17, but the Central Okanagan has yet to see any stores open.

That’s not to say nothing has happened. The first one will likely open in Lake Country, as the district’s council recently approved a variance and business licence bylaw that allows a cannabis store to operate at Turtle Bay Crossing. Another store located in the district’s town centre is still waiting for approval from the province as well.

The founder of Compass Cannabis Clinic, a medical cannabis consultation clinic in Lake Country, was happy to here he could be the first to operate a recreational store in the Central Okanagan.

“Being headquartered in Kelowna, this Lake Country location means a lot to us. We are thankful that the mayor and council gave us another chance to present our case, and also listen to the residents of Lake Country. ‘BC Bud’ is a term recognized globally within the cannabis industry, so we’re proud that the first stores we will be opening are based in British Columbia.

It’s been a long road, and our local partners Celine and Gavin have put in countless hours bringing this dream to life. We’re excited to bring recreational cannabis to the Okanagan,” said Dave Martyn, with Compass Cannabis.

The store operator Celine Fitzgerald hinted on Facebook that operations for Starbuds, the store’s recreational arm, will begin in January.

In Kelowna, the city doesn’t expect its first facility to be in operation until closer to the end 2019 and it won’t be cheap for whoever gets there first.

Thirty-one local entrepreneurs have submitted applications to operate recreational marijuana shops in the city.

But for each applicant revealed by the City of Kelowna’s planning department, a unique lengthy and costly application process needs to be completed which the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce is worried may be too regulatory over-zealous.

Just over one-third of the applications received by the city are concentrated in downtown locations, with a particular focus on the 160-block of Pandosy Street, bordered by Leon and Lawrence avenues.

Another application is proposed for Capri Mall while the Rutland business core has been identified as possible store locations for five applicants.

The city has indicated approval for any of these applications is likely to be closer to the end of 2019.

After setting the fee to have property rezoned to allow a retail cannabis store to operate in the city at $10,450 —$1,000 of that just to have the application considered for the rezoning—city council has set the annual business licence fee for pot shops at $9,465. Lake Country has a far cheaper licence, set at $550.

The public will have an opportunity to comment on each application as each store that reaches council will need to proceed through the required rezoning process.

West Kelowna did not give a time frame of when its first facility would be open but has limited the number of shops to four. Peachland does not currently allow recreational shops in the district.

While some in the region are working out the logistics of getting into the cannabis business, some local governments are currently opting out.

Smoking marijuana will remain unwelcome on Westbank First Nation land.

“We recognize the fact that in Canada, it’s legal,” said Kevin Kingston, council secretary and legal council for the WFN.

In 2011 there was a community wide vote about cannabis and a safe premises bylaw to keep marijuana out of public spaces was implemented. However, it will now be legal for community members to consume on their private property.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Authorities have confirmed a case of COVID-19 within a school in Kelowna. Someone within the Rutland Elementary School community has tested positive. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express/FILE)
Authorities confirm COVID-19 exposure in Kelowna school

Interior Health (IH) states they will be following up with anyone potentially exposed

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said the city won’t look at changing its policy regarding automatic cost of living pay bumps for himself and city councillors, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. (File)
Kelowna won’t look at nixing automatic pay raises for council, mayor

Mayor Colin Basran said the raise is minuscule, won’t look at changing policy amid residents’ COVID struggles

Kevin Lee Barrett is charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault. (Facebook)
Court hears of victim’s injuries in West Kelowna attempted murder trial

Two-week-long trial continues for Kevin Barrett, accused of trying to kill mother in West Kelowna

Homeless man lying on the bench. (File photo)
Temporary emergency shelter opens in Kelowna

The shelter, located at the former location of Tree Brewing, will offer 38 beds

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

Icewine is thicker and sweeter than regular table wine, and takes longer to produce. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Mild winter brings small icewine harvest for Central Okanagan vintners

It must be -8 C or lower before grapes can be harvested for icewine

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in B.C. school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Vaccine rollout is focused on health care workers first, especially those dealing with long-term care facilities. (Nathan Denette - Canadian Press)
General public shouldn’t expect vaccines until fall: Interior Health South Okanagan Similkameen

Interior Health focused on vaccinating long-term and first-line care workers

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read