Kelowna's new cannabis retail regulations won't allow a pot shop on every block - InfoNews

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Kelowna's new cannabis retail regulations won't allow a pot shop on every block

Workers produce medical marijuana at Canopy Growth Corporation's Tweed facility in Smiths Falls, Ont., on February 12, 2018.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
August 27, 2018 - 3:21 PM

KELOWNA - City planners have identified over 900 possible locations for retail cannabis stores in the city which is OK because they also expect hundreds of applications once they begin accepting them Oct. 1.

That’s not to say there’s going to be a pot shop on every corner, community planning manager Ryan Smith told council, as staff plans to deal with the expected deluge by plugging applicants into a customized matrix, allowing only those that best meet the new cannabis regulations to move ahead.

It will include a location at least 150 metres away from primary schools and 500 metres from high schools as well as each other, Smith told council, with areas that receive equal but overlapping applications chosen by lottery.

To further winnow down the list, Smith said staff plan to triage the business and security plans of potential cannabis retailers, using internal experts to search for strengths and weaknesses and using them as benchmarks.

While both Coun. Terri Gray and Coun. Brad Sieben questioned this, Smith told council his already busy department would be overwhelmed if it suddenly had to process 100 rezoning applications on top of the 800 or so development applications it is handling each year.

Mayor Colin Basran ended debate with a by now familiar refrain calling on the provincial and federal governments to quickly move on a tax-sharing regime so municipalities can pay for the anticipated regulatory load of legal cannabis.

The federal government will legalize cannabis on Oct. 17 across Canada.

Kelowna council voted unanimously to send the proposed bylaw changes to public hearing at a later date.

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