Kamloops council considering two private cannabis stores on North Shore

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KAMLOOPS - There are currently two private retail cannabis sales licence applications on the agenda for Kamloops city council's meeting tomorrow.

In a report prepared for council's regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 30, mayor and council will hear from city staff about two private cannabis retail licence applications. Both applications have been referred to council by the B.C. Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.

The first application on the agenda is for a proposed cannabis store at 399 Tranquille Rd. The applicant, Chris Lyth, is proposing to convert an existing commercial building into a retail cannabis store. The proposed hours would be Sunday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., which comply with the provincial government's permitted hours of sale for cannabis.

City hall has received several letters of support for the application and several letters of opposition. One letter is from the owner of Canadian Safe Cannabis Services, a medical dispensary located down the street from the proposed private retail cannabis store.

"The fact that this application would be brought forward and supported by the city of Kamloops and the B.C. government is odious," director of the Canadian Safe Cannabis Society Carl Anderson says in the letter to council. "It seems like a direct violation of the new city of Kamloops bylaws which specifically state that there should not be two cannabis dispensaries within 100-metre radius of each other."

The Canadian Safe Cannabis Services dispensary does not have a provincial licence or an active city retail cannabis application, according to the report to council, which goes on to say they are not considered for the 100-metre separation calculation as they are not in compliance.

The letter from Anderson also includes a petition with more than 300 signatures opposing the application.

A second retail cannabis sales licence application is being proposed for 6-750 Fortune Dr. in the Fortune Shopping Centre. The applicant, Christopher Monteleone who is also the co-owner of The Commodore Grand Cafe and Lounge in downtown Kamloops, is proposing to convert an existing space into a private cannabis retail shop. The proposed hours of operation for this location would be 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Monday to Sunday.

The proposed cannabis shop would be next to The Success Formula Tutoring, a tutoring service for students. The owner of the tutoring service wrote a letter in support of the application, saying she believes the applicant will ensure the proposed cannabis store will not negatively impact her students.

"Although I do not think it is an ethical action to sell habit-forming drugs in areas where children are present... I feel that (the owners) will ensure their store's operation is conducted in a manner that will not impede the safety of my students and their families," says Rebecca Smerdal, the owner of The Success Formula Tutoring in a written submission to council. "I support their endeavors to operate a retail cannabis store."

One letter of opposition from a client from the tutoring service centre says she will consider removing her daughter from the tutoring centre if the application goes through.

"I don't want her exposed to the influence that having a pot shop could have on her," Becky Atwood says in her letter to council. "I do not even understand how this location was considering knowing that it is so close to these minors, I am strongly considering removing my daughter from such a situation."

As a condition when receiving a cannabis business licence, the applicants will be required to join a good neighbour agreement which will allow owners of cannabis shops to work with the local RCMP and the city to resolve issues or concerns that arise from the stores' operations.

Council members will hear about the applications Tuesday, Oct. 30, during their regular council meeting.

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