Not all on Kamloops council happy with $5,000 cost of business licence for cannabis stores | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Not all on Kamloops council happy with $5,000 cost of business licence for cannabis stores

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August 14, 2018 - 4:25 PM

KAMLOOPS - Kamloops city council has decided how much a business licence for a pot shop will cost.

Kamloops council voted today, Aug. 14, to approve a recommendation to set the cannabis business license fee at $5,000. Council reviewed cannabis retail license application policies, fees and updated zoning bylaws at today's regular meeting.

In order to prepare for the legalization of the non-medical cannabis, Kamloops city council has been updating and tweaking bylaws in anticipation to the Oct. 17 legalization date.

During a council meeting on May 8, councillors voted in favour to amend zoning bylaws to allow cannabis stores to set up shop in four designated zones and ensure cannabis retail stores are 150-metres are away from schools or other cannabis retail locations.

City administration staff looked at other municipalities before arriving at the $5,000 annual business license fee. Communities such as Prince George, Victoria and Chilliwack are also looking at a similar annual business license fee.

"We are sort of ahead of the game, (other communities) are looking at $5,000 so we want to be fairly reasonable," development and engineering services director Marvin Kwiatkowski says.

The City of Vancouver has chosen to keep its current business license fees of $30,000 in place, a report to council says.

Coun. Tina Lange is concerned that the $5,000 annual business license fee is too much to charge a new business owner.

"I can't get behind charging a new business owner $5,000," she says. "I just don't think that's fair at all."

Lange says she understands that a large portion of the money would be used to educate new owners on the rules of cannabis sales, but added that it shouldn't be up to a new business owner to pay for that cost.

"I see that as the job of the city for sure," she says. "But I'm not sure why (a new business owner) should be paying for that."

Mayor Ken Christian says the annual business fee could change in the future.

"It's not cast in stone, council can change that (fee)," Christian says, adding the proposed fee is also acting as a placeholder to ensure applications are in time for the Oct. 17 deadline.

The Cannabis Control and Licensing Act allows for local governments to impose fees on an applicant to recover costs related to assessing a provincial cannabis retail application. City staff have proposed an application fee of $1,600, which is similar to the liquor license application fee.

For more coverage on what pot legalization will look like in Kamloops, go here

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