Vernon chamber president questions pricey pot shop business licences


The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce's president is questioning the $2,000 business licencing fee for a retail cannabis licence when liquor stores are only paying a fraction of that cost to operate.

The business license fee for retail cannabis operations is $2,000 annually in Vernon when the fee for a similar-sized liquor store is $185, and $135 annually for any other similar-sized business, wrote president Krystin Kempton in a letter addressed to Vernon city council.

Maintaining such a high fee “could threaten the viability of entrepreneurs and employment opportunities,” she wrote.

The annual licencing fee for all retail stores including pot shops in Penticton is $180, so Kempton asked why Vernon’s is so high.

“Unless the city can demonstrate that retail cannabis shops place undue financial pressure on city resources such as policing or bylaw compliance, then there is no justification for $2,000 a year, particularly at a time when our community and economy depend on recovery from the pandemic,” Kempton wrote.

During a council meeting, April 12, city staff was directed to review retail cannabis business licensing fees and report back.

READ MORE: Okanagan, Kamloops cannabis stores cry foul over exorbitant business licence fees

Vernon cannabis store owners aren't alone in paying exorbitant business licence fees. In Kelowna, the cost is $9,465 a year, while in Kamloops a business licence costs $5,000 per annum.

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