Proposals for two pot shops on Bernard Avenue in downtown Kelowna will go to public hearings.
Council approved them, despite the staff recommendation that the applications be denied due rules specifying at least 500 metres separation between cannabis stores.
Meanwhile, two previously-approved downtown pot shops have yet to open, despite being approved two years ago.
“Who knew that none of them would actually be open, two years later,” said Coun. Gail Given. “It’s really quite astounding.”
One new pot shop is proposed by Lee Schurian, owner of Hemp City, inside the existing store at 520 Bernard Ave. The other, the Green Pineapple, is proposed for 266 Bernard Ave. by Krista Lusted.
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“I’m curious to hear from the public, what they think about the proposals,” said Coun. Ryan Donn.
Having no cannabis stores open downtown, almost four years after the drug’s legalization, is a “deficit” the city did not anticipate, Donn said.
The city’s approach to municipally regulating pot shops may explain why the two previously approved downtown cannabis stores have not yet opened. The 500-metre spacing requirement can give an approved-operator effective control over a considerable area, although council can choose to waive the restriction.
A lease for one of the downtown properties where council previously granted the zoning change necessary to allow cannabis sales recently sold for almost $700,000, council heard. But there’s still no sign of the store actually opening, council heard.
— Ron Seymour/The Daily Courier