Two more pot stores approved for downtown Vernon

Downtown Vernon is slated to have two more pot shops.

In a close vote at today's council meeting, Jan. 25, Vernon councillors' voted to approve two more recreational cannabis stores for the downtown core.

Once the two stores open up, the city will have 15 provincially licenced cannabis stores, possibly the highest per capita ratio of any city with a population of more than 20,000 people in the province.

READ MORE: Vernon is the cannabis capital of B.C.

The two pot shop applications come from stores slated to open on Vernon's main street, at 3315 and 3116 30 Avenue.

The issue of legal pot shops flooding into the city has been a hot topic since legalization in the fall of 2018.

In July 2019, Vernon council put a limit on the number of cannabis stores in the downtown business area to six. Currently, they are four operating in the downtown core.

However, councillors Scott Anderson, Kari Gares, and Dalvir Nahal still voted against the new stores.

Coun. Anderson asked his fellow councillors what sort of legacy they wanted to leave behind.

Coun. Nahal agreed with Anderson's statement and Coun. Gares said she was struggling with her decision on how to vote.

However, not everybody agreed.

"We set up a framework, I don't think it's fair to the entrepreneurs," Coun. Kelly Fehr told the meeting.

Coun. Anderson said the framework limiting six pot stores was done under duress because the city had received so many applications.

Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming said he would vote in favour of the stores.

"We said there was going to be six," the mayor said.

Ultimately, Mayor Cumming, Couns. Fehr, Brian Quiring and Akbal Mund voted to approve the stores.

In June 2020 Vernon had the highest number of legal weed stores per person in any city with a population of more than 20,000.

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