Penticton won't see retail cannabis outlets until March 2019
PENTICTON - The City of Penticton has been working for the better part of this year to develop bylaws and policy for the retail sale of cannabis in the city in the hope of being as ready as possible for legalization, which is now upon us.
Penticton is much like many other Canadian cities, in that it's not yet ready to open the doors to cannabis retail outlets in the city.
The city continues to put policy together and consult the public.
For the time being, the smoking of cannabis may no longer be a criminal act in Penticton, but purchasing it locally through a retail outlet is still months away.
Currently, the city has no bylaws in place to receive applications for cannabis retail licenses, so it hasn’t taken in any applications.
The city has received three referrals from the provincial government by applicants currently undergoing the provincial approving process, and the city's communications officer Philip Cooper says the Liquor Distribution Branch has also issued a letter of intent to open and operate a cannabis store in the city.
City manager Blake Laven says it will probably be late February or early March 2019, before residents see the first cannabis retail outlet in Penticton.
“Our role will be to provide local government support to those applying for licenses,” Laven says.
He says the city’s approval is one step in the process, and the province won’t move on an application until it has received comments from local government.
Laven says the city has a proposed policy for the incoming council to review in early November.
Each application will be subject to public scrutiny, Laven says, which will add to the processing time.
“Optimistically, if the bylaws and policies get adopted and passed in December or early January, we’ll begin advertising the stores we have referrals on, which would probably happen in January or February, leaving March as the earliest time for the first approvals,” he says.
The city is also looking at having an “application window” rather than a first come, first served format, where people wishing to open a store would have the opportunity to submit an application, then the city would process them all together.
Former cannabis operators in the city would not be discriminated against, Laven says.
“We’d treat them as any new applicant. If their proposal works, it could move forward,” he says, adding the applicants’ former reputations could come back to haunt them during the public process of the application, if the public had issues with their operations before legalization.
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