Calling about cannabis: Kelowna already hearing from would-be pot shop operators - InfoNews

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Calling about cannabis: Kelowna already hearing from would-be pot shop operators

Marijuana products are pictured at Eden Medicinal Society in Vancouver, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2018.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
February 07, 2018 - 2:30 PM

KELOWNA - The City of Kelowna has already received a flurry of phone calls in the wake of Monday’s release of the provincial government’s regulatory and distribution scheme for legal cannabis.

“We’ve had quite a bit of phone traffic but we’re not issuing business licenses for anything yet,” urban planning manager Ryan Smith said.

Before that can happen, Smith said staff will review the pending regulations and conduct a community consultation before finalizing possible bylaw changes for council to consider in advance of July 1.

“We will give them a high-level look before that as to where staff is heading with recommendations,” Smith said. “Because the timelines are brief, we will have to move quickly. We would like to have it ready to go by July 1 regardless of where the federal government is at.”

The federal government announced yesterday it would be moving the de facto date for legalization to sometime in early fall, allowing businesses and law enforcement time to adjust to the new regime before making it official.

Bills C45, the legislation underpinning the new regulations, is facing headwinds from Conservative senators in Ottawa, adding uncertaintly around the original July 1 date.

In Kelowna, Smith said recommendations from staff will likely stick closely to those released by the provincial and federal governments, which amongst other things, allows up to four plants to be grown for personal consumption.

A suggestion made previously by staff that home production might not be allowed in Kelowna because of possible safety and enforcement concerns is not likely to make the cut, Smith said.

“We will probablly leave that as it is for now unless we see some negative consequences,” Smith added.

As for where retail cannabis locations might be located, Smith said the plan is to create a land use control scheme, similar to that already in place for medical cannabis licensed producers.

Locations will likely be approved by Kelowna city council on a site-by-site basis, similar to how the location of private cold beer and wine stores are decided, he said.

Find more stories on cannabis here.

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