Enderby city council considering three cannabis stores

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ENDERBY - After efforts to open a Starbuds location in Lake Country stalled recently, the race is on for the first retail cannabis shop to open in the Okanagan and Enderby is the latest entry into the unofficial competition.

Enderby city council passed first and second readings on three potential cannabis retail stores at their Dec. 3 meeting. The stores will require bylaw changes to legally operate. Council sent the matter to a public hearing on Dec. 17, where their ultimate fate will be decided.

The council agenda document details how Enderby adopted appropriate zoning bylaws and business licensing regulations in 2016 and 2017. Cannabis stores are permitted in commercial and industrial zones. They can't be within 100 metres of residential zones, daycares, schools, public parks, community centres, and similar areas. Business owners must pay an annual license renewal fee of $5,000.

In September, Enderby started a 60-day acceptance period for cannabis retail licensing applications, according to the council agenda document. Three potential stores submitted applications. There's one snag, though: They're all within the 100 metre "buffer" zone.

The Mary Jane Resource Centre at the Vetter Plaza strip mall wants to convert itself into a retail location. Operators of a liquor store and hotel at 900 George St. want to turn an empty room in their commercial building into a marijuana market. The third applicant would like to use a commercial unit at 601A Cliff Ave. for their future cannabis shop.

All three of these proposed stores are less than 100 metres from residential zones. Zoning bylaws need to be adjusted to accommodate them or their applications will be rejected. Council will decide whether or not to alter the bylaws after the public hearing later this month.

In a letter to the city attached to the council agenda document, the Enderby library, which is within 100 metres of the 601A Cliff Ave. location, expressed concerns about operating near a cannabis store.

Councillors and the public will have a chance to voice their concerns and questions about the retail stores at the Enderby City Hall at 4 p.m. on Dec. 17.

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