No legal pot shops for Kelowna well into 2019 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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No legal pot shops for Kelowna well into 2019

FILE PHOTO - A bag of marijuana is held up at a medical marijuana dispensary in Vancouver on Friday May 1, 2015.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
September 21, 2018 - 11:45 AM

KELOWNA - It will take many months and thousands of dollars before any legal marijuana shops are opened in Kelowna.

The city will start taking applications for the pot shops on Oct. 1 but a committee to review those applications won’t sit until early 2019.

The city also requires a rezoning process – at a cost of more than $10,000 – which will trigger a public hearing for each application that will stretch out the time line even further.

“It depends on how many applications we receive,” City of Kelowna planner Kimberly Brunette says. “We’re anticipating it (approval process) will take a few months."

It will also depend on city staff workloads, when public hearings can be scheduled and whether things like development variance permits are needed.

The first batch of applications – those received between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30 – won’t go to the committee until some time in the new year.

On Monday, Sept. 24, city council will be asked to approve a $9,459 rezoning fee, along with an additional $1,000 non-refundable application fee for a total cost of almost $10,500 for each application that goes through the full process.

The application fee is meant to cover the cost of the review committee, Brunette said. The rezoning fee will include the normal cost of rezoning (about $1,800 for most zones), recovering expenses already incurred and additional costs of putting policies and regulations in place for what is called the Retail Cannabis Sales Subzone.

Applicants will also have to be licenced by the provincial government. That process can take place at the same time but the province will not approve any licences until the city has given its approval.

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