Kamloops city councillor getting into the cannabis business

Denis Walsh is seen in this undated photo posted to Facebook.
Denis Walsh is seen in this undated photo posted to Facebook.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Denis Walsh

KAMLOOPS - An incumbent Kamloops city councillor seeking re-election is hoping to open a cannabis shop now that pot is legal nationwide.

Today, Oct. 17, marks the first day that marijuana is legal across Canada and Coun. Denis Walsh says he has plans to open a pot shop of his own sometime in the future.

Walsh declared a conflict of interest during yesterday's, Oct. 16, regular city council meeting when talks of finalizing the province's first cannabis retail license application came up for council members to vote on. The motion was moved forward unanimously by council for the province's first B.C. Cannabis Store to begin operating within Kamloops today.

Walsh says his lengthy experience as a business owner informed his decision to apply for a cannabis retail license application.

"I think it's going to be a worthwhile investment," Walsh says.

The councillor is looking to set up a pot shop near his existing business, the MovieMart near the corner of St. Paul Street and 4 Avenue in downtown Kamloops.

"I have had some constraints because I have to be 150-metres from a school zone," Walsh says. "Even though Stuart Wood (Elementary School) is closed it's still zoned as a school so I have to follow that bylaw."

Walsh says it's been a challenge dealing with the zoning of buildings in the area.

"I have had to build a new separate retail outlet that is 150 metres away from the school zone because I was six or seven feet too close," he says, adding that he has been negotiating with the city's building department.

Walsh says he's thrilled about the legalization of marijuana but still feels there is too much stigma around cannabis.

"The feds have kind of dropped the ball, they should have delayed the roll out a little bit, it was hard but the province has done an incredible job getting things to this point already given the quick timeline," he says. "So it is what it is, but the problem is the stores now are eliminating the key revenue driver."

Currently, edibles are still illegal but the plan is to legalize cannabis-infused treats within a year.

"Basically we are only going to have cannabis leaf, seeds and oil so we are going to have limited products and a lot of people are moving towards edibles," Walsh says. "It's not going to be the gold rush people think it is... I think it's going to be difficult for the first year or two."

Walsh says he has put his an application for a cannabis retail store on hold until after the municipal election.

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