Nine months after legalization, Salmon Arm tops list of licenced pot shops in B.C.

These two American men were among the opening day shoppers at B.C.'s first legal cannabis store in Kamloops last October.
These two American men were among the opening day shoppers at B.C.'s first legal cannabis store in Kamloops last October.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

KELOWNA - When cannabis was legalized in Canada on Oct. 17, 2018, the first legal sales outlet was opened – by the government – in Kamloops.

Since then, there have been another 60 licences issued to private and Liquor Distribution Branch outlets, with few yet to open.

In the Interior, Salmon Arm leads the way with four businesses granted licences – two of which are now open. Plus, there is another pot shop open down the highway in nearby Sicamous.

An Employment, Business and Economic Development web page lists 45 private licences that have been issued. While it’s updated weekly, it doesn’t indicate whether the retail outlets have opened or not.

It shows what it calls the Interior and the North, as having 58 per cent of those listings (26).

Close behind Salmon Arm, two other small cities, Castlegar and Trail, have three each. Kelowna and Lake Country have one each while Vernon has two. There are no licences listed for Kamloops, Penticton or West Kelowna.

There is a separate Liquor Distribution Branch web page that posts 16 locations in B.C. Only two of those are listed as open, both in Kamloops (Northills and Columbia Place). Another one will be opening in Lansdowne mall in Kamloops plus at the Power Centre in Penticton.

Not yet on either list is a government application for West Kelowna that is just being made in that city.

By comparison, Vancouver has 10 private licences and Victoria has four but the only one listed elsewhere in the Lower Mainland is in Surrey.

Absent from either list are two Indigenous Bloom stores that opened on First Nations land in the Central Okanagan in January.

In Kelowna, 12 of 15 applications that were made last winter have completed their rezoning applications, Ryan Smith, the city’s community development planning manager said in an email. The city is getting ready to bring forward additional applications.

The only licenced Kelowna company, to date, is Hobo Recreational Cannabis. It advertised for a retail sales associate on on July 3. The position pays $15 to $18 per hour, depending on experience. There is no cutoff date listed to apply and a call to the company asking when it plans to open was not returned.

It’s located at 2121 Springfield Rd., across from Orchard Park Mall.

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